Development of a single cell-ICP-ToF-MS-method for multielement analysis of MIC organisms grown on solid steel samples


A.-E. Dinter, B. An, N. Wurzler, A. Koerdt, B. Meermann

Bundeanstalt für Materialforschung und Prüfung, 1.1 Anorganische Spurenanalytik, Richard-Willstätter-Straße 11, 12489 Berlin

The latest ICP-MS technology – ICP-ToF (time of flight)-MS – enables the analysis of the multi-element fingerprint of individual cells. The interface between material and environmental analysis thus receives special attention, e.g., when considering corrosion processes. Microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC) is a highly unpredictable phenomenon due to the influence of the environment, microbial communities involved and the respective electron source. However, the interaction pathway between cells and the metal surface remains unclear.[1] The development of the MIC-specific ICP-ToF-MS analytical method presented here at the single cell level, in combination with the investigation of steel-MIC interactions, contributes significantly to progress in instrumental MIC analysis and will enable clarification of the processes taking place. For this, a MIC-specific staining procedure was developed. It allows the analysis of archaea at a single cell level and provides information about the interaction of the cells with the staining agent which is extremely scarce compared to other well characterized organisms. Additionally, the single cell ICP-ToF-MS is used for the analysis of archaea involved in MIC of steel. Hence, the possible uptake of individual elements from different steel samples is investigated – the information obtained will be used in the future to elucidate underlying mechanisms and develop possible material protection concepts, thus combining modern methods of analytical sciences with materials.

[1]        B. J. Little, D. J. Blackwood, J. Hinks, F. M. Lauro, E. Marsili, A. Okamoto, S. A. Rice, S. A. Wade, H. C. Flemming, Corrosion Science 2020, 170.