Fuel Preservation: Where there is fuel there are microbes

For microbials, summer is a great time for growth and expansion.

Microbes are especially challenging in the spring & summer for the fuel industry. Fuel and the systems where fuel is used, stored and transported can provide a nutrient rich environment for microorganisms.

Biofilm formation as seen in Diesel #2 from a recent ASTM E1259 test

Biofilm Formation as seen in Diesel #2 from a recent ASTM E1259 test. Red highlight shows evidence of mixed Bacteria and Fungi formation.

Fuel provides a great source of carbon and the environments in which they’re used often have the right level of humidity to encourage growth. Growing microorganisms consume these carbon-based nutrients creating waste and particulates that can foul the engines, pipes, or the respective storage space. This can likely result in less than ideal combustion and possible damage.

ASTM E1259 test showing separation and microbial activity

Image from ASTM E1259 series showing the separation of the fuel layers and close up of biofilm formation.

Adding an antimicrobial to fuel is a convenient, cost-effective and often quick solution to the problem. But how do you know it will actually work, even if it is a known formulation? Use ASTM 1259.

ASTM E1259 is the standard method used to evaluate the antimicrobial performance of a fuel. There are two versions of the test; the first determines the quick kill (how much of a microorganism population will be eliminated in a specific timeframe) and preservation; how long the antimicrobial performance will last.

ASTM E1259 (officially, ASTM E1259 – Standard Practice for Evaluation of Antimicrobials in Liquid Fuels Boiling Below 390°C) is used to test fuels for most working environments and industries. Our customers are using ASTM E1259 to evaluate antimicrobial performance in the maritime, transportation, aviation and military sectors. They use it for both for formulation development and as a quality control measure.

Where there are fuels there are microbes; the challenge is not to completely eliminate all microbes. Rather, it is to reduce their population to manageable levels.

Contact us at the lab for more information about antimicrobial additives and performance testing.