Microbiota in a cooling-lubrication circuit and an option for controlling triethanolamine biodegradation

Thomas Klammsteiner, Heribert Insam, Maraike Probst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Cooling and lubrication agents like triethanolamine (TEA) are essential for many purposes in industry. Due to biodegradation, they need continuous replacement, and byproducts of degradation may be toxic. This study investigates an industrial (1,200 m³) cooling-lubrication circuit (CLC) that has been in operation for 20 years and is supposedly in an ecological equilibrium, thus offering a unique habitat. Next-generation (Illumina Miseq 16S rRNA amplicon) sequencing was used to profile the CLC-based microbiota and relate it to TEA and bicine dynamics at the sampling sites, influent, machine rooms, biofilms and effluent. Pseudomonas pseudoalcaligenes dominated the effluent and influent sites, while Alcaligenes faecalis dominated biofilms, and both species were identified as the major TEA degrading bacteria. It was shown that a 15 min heat treatment at 50°C was able to slow down the growth of both species, a promising option to control TEA degradation at large scale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-531
Number of pages13
Issue number5
StatePublished - 28 May 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Cooling liquid
  • Pseudomonas
  • bicine
  • lubrication
  • triethanolamine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Water Science and Technology


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