5D Health Protection Group limited

multi award winning microbiology laboratory

Sectors | Industrial and Engineered Systems

Biofouling, Corrosion & Water Testing 

A common engineering challenge is biological fouling referred to as biofouling. This is the build up of microorganisms, biofilms and biological matter on surfaces. This microbial contamination in water systems is a global problem. Microbial infections within water treatment plants for example pose a wide spread health risk to the population. When these infections become biofilm related, they can prove exceptionally difficult to remove from tubes, pipes and water vats. For example, biofilm formation on the hulls of ships costs the shipping industries billions of dollars. Excessive layers of biofilm material increases the drag, resulting in extra fuel to combat this.

Biofouling is prevalent in medicine and industrial environments. In medicine fouling for example can occur on orthopaedic implants, respirators, contact lenses, catheters, heamodialysis and biosensor systems. In engineered systems biofouling can occur on ships hulls, engines, marine platforms and in drinking water.

Controlling biofouling can be achieved a number of different ways in these sectors. At 5D we have extensive skills and knowledge in biofouling development and control and the public health issues associated with biofilms in hospital water supplies and potable water.

Outsource Your Water and Biofilm Testing to The Experts

What We Offer

At 5D we offer many tests, models and assays that are used to evaluate the efficacy and performance of biocides, antimicrobial surfaces, paints and other antimicrobial products in order to investigate their ability to prevent and remove both planktonic and biofilm encased microbial populations.

We offer a large number of different microbiology and biofilm testing models and procedures. For further information about all the different scientific testing we can perform please see our scientific services pages. However, please find below some examples of some of the services we offer related to biofouling, biofilms, corrosion and public health microbiology.

Planktonic Microbiology Testing

  • Contaminant identification including sulphate reducing bacteria (SRB)
  • Bioburden and microbial contamination assessment
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Total Viable Counts
  • Identification of problematic microbes eg Pseudomonas aeruginosa, coliform, Staphylococcus aureus
  • Microbial induced corrosion (MIC) testing

Examples of Biofilm Testing

We are able to offer a number of different models that can be used to simulate biofilms in potable and industrial water systems. 5D have over 25 years experience of working with biofilms in industrial situations. We offer a very flexible and adaptable service to ensure all our customers receive information and data that is most appropriate for their needs. The more routinely used models we utilise for our customers are shown below.

  • Minimum Biofilm Eradication Concentration (MBEC) assay - In this model the biofilm is grown according to the standard ASTM E2799 – 17 (Standard Test Method for Testing Disinfectant Efficacy against Pseudomonas aeruginosa Biofilm using the MBEC Assay).
  • CDC Biofilm Reactor - In this model the biofilm is grown according to the standard ASTM E2562 - 17 (standard test method for quantification of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm grown with high shear and continuous flow using CDC biofilm reactor). 5D have adapted this model to grow an array of different biofilms using both single and multispecies aerobic and anaerobic biofilms.
  • Drip Flow Biofilm Reactor - In this model the biofilm is grown according to the standard ASTM E2647 - 13 (standard test method for quantification of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm grown with using drip flow biofilm reactor with low shear and continuous flow). The model has been validate by 5D for use with monoculture and mixed culture biofilms.

Our Experience

We have extensive experience with water and environmental sector testing and have worked with various industrial, commercial and public-sector bodies to test and evaluate such things as:

  • Broad spectrum biocides
  • Potable water
  • Borehole water
  • Industrial water
  • Antimicrobial paints
  • Antifouling products
  • Wastewater systems
  • Water cooling systems
  • Non-sterile manufacturing water systems 

We offer a range of test methodologies including:

  • Contaminant identification
  • Pathogen or specific organism detection and isolation
  • Bioburden assessment
  • Total viable count (TVC)
  • Total viable yeast count
  • Environmental monitoring
  • ASTM G29-96: Standard practice for determining algal resistance of plastic films.

Biofouling and Corrosion Testing

We have extensive expertise in biofouling and the microbially-influenced corrosion (MIC) of materials – a common cause of failure in engineered systems.

We test on behalf of utilities companies for the protection of drinking water pipes; the food and beverage industry; the oil and gas sector and for shipping and structures in the marine environment.

In engineered systems, premature failure of equipment is generally due to MIC – a consequence of the growth and proliferation of biofilms.

When microorganisms grow within a biofilm they are tolerant to routinely used biocides, and therefore, the monitoring and detection of biofilms should be routine in any engineered system.

Our expertise and skills in biofouling and MIC have been employed to research corrosion in areas including: 

  • Hospital, industrial and drinking-water pipework
  • Oil pipeline systems
  • Structures in the marine environment 
  • Turbine systems
  • Paints
  • Biodeterioration of concrete

Examples of Testing Performed For Customers in the Water Industry 

Examples of some of the testing we perform for customers in the water industry include:

  • Biofilm detection and control in plumbing systems
  • Biofilm control on stainless steel
  • Efficacy of copper on biofilms
  • Coliform detection
  • Total Viable Counts (TVC)
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Microbiological monitoring using settle/contact plates
  • Microbial influenced corrosion detection and identification
  • Metal ion analysis using ICP/MS and biosensor technology

Our microbiology experts assist our customers in mitigating their risks to their infrastructure, processes, equipment and also personnel. We have undertaken many studies in measuring the microbial growth in petroleum storage tanks, investigating and testing potable water and investigating the corrosion issues that are associated with different microbes in particular the sulphate reducing bacteria (SRB).

To discuss your scientific testing related to biofilms, biofouling, corrosion and control of microorganisms please contact us at info@5Dhpg.com or call on +44 (0) 151 794 9279.

Customer Testimonials

  • "We have found 5D Health Protection very informative and responsive to the work proposals, questions and final data. 5D Health were very helpful and clear in their support and advice throughout the study"
  • "5D provided an excellent service regarding product evaluation, consultancy and education"
  • "If anybody is looking to begin working with biofilms, they need to look at this course. It is run by top notch people, and they make it fun"
  • "Excellent communication of timelines"
  • “Always happy to discuss test methods and results with us”
  • “All testing was conducted as agreed, clear and professional report supplied”
  • "Very quick response to the initial request. Very professional and helpful advice to the requested studies. Very Supportive staff"
  • "If not for this course, we would likely never be able to get our lab up and running in a timely manner. This was a HUGE time saver in the long run"

5D Accomplishments, Partnerships and Collaborations

  • Bradford Logo
  • Cardiff University


5D Health Protection Group Ltd

Accelerator Building
1 Daulby Street
L7 8XZ
United Kingdom


+44 (0) 151 702 9492

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