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Technical Paper

Inhibition of Biofilm Formation on the Service and Performance Heat Exchanger by Quorum Sensing Inhibition

Shortly after installation of the service and performance heat exchanger (SPCU HX) in 2001, samples collected from the coolant fluid indicated the presence of nickel accompanied by a subsequent decrease in phosphate concentration along with a high microbial load. When the SPCU HX was replaced and evaluated post-flight, it was expected that the heat exchanger would have significant biofilm and corrosion present given the composition of the coolant fluid; however, there was no evidence of either. Early results from two experiments imply that the heat exchanger materials themselves are inhibiting biofilm formation. This paper discusses the results of one set of experiments and puts forward the inhibition of quorum sensing as a possible mechanism for the lack of biofilm formation.