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Title: Biofilm development and management in aircraft fuel systems
Author: McFarlane, Alexander
ISNI:       0000 0004 6349 049X
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2016
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Microbial contamination of jet fuel systems is a well-documented phenomenon. However, the introduction of novels fuels and materials will change these environments and hence the microbial communities that develop within them. This thesis explores the potential impact of introducing novel fuels and construction materials into the jet fuel supply chain on microbial communities, biofilm development and function with the aim of developing an understanding of the underpinning biological, chemical and physical processes. Our work has focused on a) characterising the microbial communities present within conventional aircraft fuel systems and their role in biofilm development and fuel degradation and b) the effect of introducing alternative fuels and new construction materials on these processes. Using a range of molecular genetic techniques, we have characterised microbial communities found in diverse conventional fuel systems. Communities within jet fuel systems were found to be more diverse than previously documented and traditional indicator species were not always detected in field samples. We use novel, multifactorial laboratory microcosm experiments, varying parameters such as microbial community structure, fuel type and surface composition, to enhance our understanding of this problem. Our data show that varying fuel type strongly influenced microbial growth rate and cell attachment of industrystandard isolates, as well as the community structure of complex mixed communities. Varying material composition, including the addition of chromate-leaching paint, had little effect on community structure. Instead the biggest driver for change in these systems was the location of the biofilm - either the fuel or water phase. Overall, this research helps to elucidate understanding of the principles that govern biofilm formation in jet fuel systems, pre-empting future operational problems following the introduction of alternative fuels and materials.
Supervisor: Rolfe, Stephen ; Thornton, Steve Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available