When it comes to analyzing microbial activity in corrosion-related studies, quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) offers distinct advantages over other techniques. In this section, we will delve into the comprehensive properties that make qPCR an invaluable tool for corrosion technologists.
Influence of micro organisms in corrosion processes is called: Microbiologically influenced Corrosion. You can learn more about this typical microbiologically induced corrosion process in this article.
qPCR’s Robustness and Flexibility
One of the core strengths of qPCR is its robust and adaptable nature. It relies on the genetic material within microorganisms, making it a viable choice for situations where traditional culturing is challenging, such as extreme environments (e.g., strict anaerobic, high pressure, high temperatures). Here are some key benefits:
- Convenience for Fieldwork: qPCR simplifies the process for researchers working in the field. Samples can be easily transported at ambient temperatures, streamlining operations for microbiologists engaged in various field activities.
- Flexibility in Target Selection: qPCR offers the versatility to measure either a microbial group, specific microbial species, or even delve into the quantification of particular microbial processes, such as sulfate reduction. This method permits a combination of these targets within a single analysis.
- Quantitative Approach: The qPCR method quantifies microorganisms with a quantitative approach that eliminates the need for subjective human interpretation. Additionally, it provides rapid results, often within 24 hours.
- Sample Efficiency: A single sample generates sufficient DNA material for multiple measurement analyses or tools. This opens the possibility to expand microbial information by performing Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) analysis on the DNA sample for comprehensive identification of all present microorganisms.
Sample-Related Advantages of qPCR in MIC
In addition to the general advantages, qPCR excels in preserving samples and accommodating various types of samples. Here’s why:
- Chemical Preservation: qPCR allows for the chemical preservation of samples, extending their shelf life at ambient temperatures for several weeks. For long-term storage, freezing samples for months is also possible. This preservation ensures that the analysis results accurately reflect the microbial composition at the time of sampling.
- Versatile Sample Types: qPCR is highly versatile in terms of the types of samples it can analyze. This includes sludges, deposits, (waste) water, fuels, (compressed) gases, filters, surfaces, and solids.
- Free Sample Kits: To further enhance flexibility, qPCR provides sample kits at no cost, allowing end-users to routinely collect samples without incurring expenses and analyze only those of interest.
qPCR: Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction for MIC and biofilm measurements
Now, let’s explore what qPCR entails in greater detail. The acronym qPCR stands for Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction. This method allows for the precise detection and quantification of various organisms or genetic traits based on their DNA. Moreover, it offers the capability to assess the activity of microbial processes by analyzing RNA, providing valuable insights into ongoing microbial activity at the moment of sampling.
qPCR Controls for Quality Assurance
qPCR incorporates extraction controls to determine and correct for DNA or RNA extraction efficiencies. Additionally, internal controls are an integral part of all qPCR analyses, ensuring the quality and reliability of the results in corrosion-related research and analysis.
In summary, qPCR is a powerful and versatile tool for corrosion technologists, offering advantages in sample preservation, flexibility, and the accurate quantification of microbial activity, while ensuring the quality of data through various control mechanisms. It has the potential to significantly enhance corrosion-related research and analysis.
There are several technical standards available that prescribe how a qPCR method can be implemented into a field or laboratory operation. AMPP TM0194 is best suited for field focused applications. Within AMPP the technical method for molecular lab testing has been approved recently. At this moment it is not publically available, but your can expect this standard to be published at the beginning of 2024. The reference to this standard is: TM21465
Learn how to use qPCR testing yourselves and get unique insights about the pitfalls of external laboratories
Complex technologies such as qPCR require dedication and a descent knowledge level of the laboratory technician that will perform the test. The method is far from any of the regular used chemical or metallurgical technique that is usually applied by corrosion or productions chemists.
Within the masterclass on Microbiologically influenced Corrosion, we will guide you through this topic with three interactive video’s.