Microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC) of metallic materials imposes a heavy economic burden. The mechanism of MIC of metallic iron (Fe(0)) under anaerobic conditions is usually explained as the consumption of cathodic hydrogen by hydrogenotrophic microorganisms that accelerates anodic Fe(0) oxidation. In this study, we describe Fe(0) corrosion induced by a nonhydrogenotrophic nitrate-reducing bacterium called MIC1-1, which was isolated from a crude-oil sample collected at an oil well in Akita, Japan. This strain requires specific electron donor-acceptor combinations and an organic carbon source to grow. For example, the strain grew anaerobically on nitrate as a sole electron acceptor with pyruvate as a carbon source and Fe(0) as the sole electron donor. In addition, ferrous ion and l-cysteine served as electron donors, whereas molecular hydrogen did not. Phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rRNA gene sequences revealed that strain MIC1-1 was a member of the genus Prolixibacter in the order Bacteroidales. Thus, Prolixibacter sp. strain MIC1-1 is the first Fe(0)-corroding representative belonging to the phylum Bacteroidetes. Under anaerobic conditions, Prolixibacter sp. MIC1-1 corroded Fe(0) concomitantly with nitrate reduction, and the amount of iron dissolved by the strain was six times higher than that in an aseptic control. Scanning electron microscopy analyses revealed that microscopic crystals of FePO4 developed on the surface of the Fe(0) foils, and a layer of FeCO3 covered the FePO4 crystals. We propose that cells of Prolixibacter sp. MIC1-1 accept electrons directly from Fe(0) to reduce nitrate.
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