Encyclopedia Titanica

Biodeterioration of the RMS Titanic

How organism activity will destroy the Titanic


    Hide Ads
Biodeterioration of the RMS Titanic

How marine organism activity will lead to the eventual destruction of the Titanic

One of the great icons of the twentieth century was born April 15, 1912 with the sinking of the RMS Titanic. At her launching, this great ship was the largest liner ever built and carried the distinction of being the biggest, the best, and even claimed to be "unsinkable". The sinking was made even more dramatic by the striking of an iceberg on her maiden voyage, with over 1500 lives lost. This single event has become burnt into societies' consciousness as an image of arrogance and ignorance.

Myths and legends continued to surround the RMS Titanic until its discovery in 1985. The ship lies silently on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, over 500-km off of the coast of Newfoundland. The Titanic, torn into three parts and surrounded by a debris field, is scattered on a portion of the continental shelf at a depth of 3.9 kilometers, with a temperature of 1°C and pressures in excess of 6000psi. After 88 years at the bottom of this watery grave, the RMS Titanic shows signs of deterioration. This deterioration is found in the form of growth, coined rusticles that appear both inside and outside of the ship's structure. In 1996 and 1998, scientific expeditions to the site of the RMS Titanic have learned that the rusticles are growing larger and denser, while the ship continues to deteriorate. Microscopic evaluation revealed that the rusticles are complex bioconcretious structures involving many different consortia, or communities of bacteria and fungi, formed through cooperative activities. These integrated structures include water channels, porous sponge-like regions, rib-like structures, cavernous water reservoirs and thread-like columns that appear to bind these structures together along with resinous patches.

The bioconcretious rusticles vary in color, texture, size and form. The variation in color from a vivid yellow through to brown and even purple is due to the highly oxidized ferric iron content. These can be found on the outer surfaces of the Titanic. Rusticles can also appear to have a grey or black hue. These can be found in more reductive environments such as those found in the interior of the ship. The rusticles are dense structures, with a high iron content ranging from 24 to 36% consisting mostly as complex ferric oxides and hydroxides. The support structures of the rusticles appear to be dominated by matrices of heavily mineralized growth in which goethite is dominant. An iron oxide sulfate complex, known as green rust was also found (Fe+2 3.6 Fe+3 0.9(O--, OH-, SO4--)9). Rusticles that have been recovered from the 1996 Expedition to Titanic have been analyzed by electron diffraction x-ray. This technique revealed that iron was the dominant atom within the range of atoms tested. The relationship within the bioconcretious structure is (dominant atom first): Fe > Na > S > Cl > Mg > Si > P > Mn. There is considerable variation in the elemental composition of the rusticles tested, however, this reflects the heterogeneous nature of the structures themselves.

The examination of the rusticle growth on the ship itself was done in both 1996 and 1998. This examination in situ showed, visually, that the rusticles have a concrete looking exterior however, when approached and, when touched or disturbed through mechanical means, proved fragile and commonly shattered into numerous pieces, spewing a red, powder-like material into the surrounding water. This phenomenon was examined closer in a laboratory setting, using recovered rusticles. When growth occurred in the laboratory, the rusticles were fed various selective culture media through implanted hypodermic syringes simulating organic loading in the oceanic environment. Growth occurred very slowly but it was noted that there was a continuous release of material resembling the powder-like material first observed in situ, through the ducts leading from the structural water channels. This material, when dried, resembles red dust, having an iron content, on average, of 20+/-5%. Additionally, there were releases of biocolloidal yellow slimes with an average iron content of 8+/-3%. These releases totaled between 0.02 and 0.03% of the rusticle's biomass per day. If this were to be repeated in situ, tests indicate that it would take between nine and fourteen years for the same amount of iron to be released from the rusticles as equivalent to the amount of iron being held within the rusticles structure. From the 1996 surveys, it was determined that there was approximately 650 tons (dry weight) of rusticles on the outside of the bow section of the wreck. From this, it can be extrapolated that a daily loss of iron, as red dust and yellow biocolloids, of between 0. 13 and 0.20 tons per day could be occurring from the wreck. Further extrapolation reveals that iron in the bow section, assuming 20,000 tons of iron, and that the rusticles were removing the iron at a constant rate, could be totally exported into the environment as red dust and biocolloids in approximately 280 to 420 years.

Key in determining how long the Titanic may remain intact is the rate at which these biologically-driven rusticles will grow and extract iron from the steel plating of the ship. To examine this phenomenon, four IPSCO Test Platforms were placed down at the site of Titanic, in 1998. Each platform has three different types of maritime steel, each represented by five coupons, which have been either twisted, hammered, tempered or burnt, including a control sample. These platforms are still at the wreck site and early reports indicated that the rusticles are growing over the test coupons. When recovered, the rusticle growth and resident amount of iron in the coupons will be used to assess the rate at which iron extraction is occurring, the residence time in the rusticle for the iron and finally, the amount of iron already exported to the oceanic environment In addition to the IPSCO Test Platforms, there is a need to understand the nutritional factors influencing the growth of rusticles. On both the 1996 and 1998 expeditions, there were periods when the "sea snow', a mixture of biocolloids and zooplankton, was so intense that it resembled a blizzard on the prairies. This sea snow originates, in part, from the deep scattering layer located approximately 400-1000 meters below the surface, and partly from the growths over the ocean floor. After such a "snow fall", the rusticles become covered with a gentle coating of white slime that presumably, is able to be consumed by the rusticles through the ducts that perforate the outer structural coating.

The chemistry of this biodeterioration is clearly complex and certainly involves the growth of microbes at the reduction-oxidation front forming within the structures, and upon the electrical charges inherently present within the steel and modified by the rusticle growth. In the laboratory, it has been possible to manipulate the position, form and rate of rusticle growth by the application of electromagnetic forces to the steel. This has now become the subject of a patent application. Clearly the biodeterioration of the RMS Titanic is being driven by rusticles mining the steel for its iron which becomes the major structural support element in the rusticles, in much the same way as calcium provides the skeletal support in many vertebrates. In 1998, comparisons were made with video footage from the 1986, 1996 and 1998 expeditions to determine the rate of biodeterioration over time. The mass of rusticles has increased on the outside of the bow section by at least 30% between 1996 and 1998 and there are ongoing signs of deterioration. For example, the bow section of Titanic's Upper Promenade Deck is deteriorating from the aft, moving forward at a rate of approximately 30cms per year. Another indication that degradation is occurring is at the aft end of the bow section. All of the decking structures located at this point, having folded and collapsed over the aft section during impact, have now disintegrated away to reveal for the first time the boilers in Boiler Room #2. Cracks in the steel hull plating are also beginning to appear, particularly around the Well Deck, that suggests further deterioration is progressing. Inside the bow section, copious rusticles are growing throughout. These may also be leading to the gradual deterioration of the ship. It is only through a more intensive investigation that the true rate of this biologically driven deterioration can be predicted.

There appears, at this time, to be evidence not of a catastrophic structural failure about to occur in the near future, but rather of a gradual collapse that would follow a somewhat predictable pattern. In simple form, this pattern would include (in probable chronological order) the loss of all structures above the hull, collapse and disintegration of internal decks and walls, exposure of all of the heavy mechanical equipment in the bowels of the ship (e.g., boilers, turbines), fracturing and collapse of the hull plates, exposure of the double bottom hull and the final disappearance of the remaining resident structures. This chain of events probably would take many hundreds of years, long after the RMS Titanic had ceased to be a recognizable structure.

For science, the RMS Titanic now provides an opportunity to learn from the deep oceanic degradation of steel structures. At this site, the deterioration of structures still has many stories to tell. The debate between fact and fiction reigns on. Claims range from the steels deteriorating to become as thin as sheets of newspaper, having the same strength as the chocolate in a candy bar, to the steel strength being slowly yielded to the iron-devouring rusticles. Ongoing science at the site and the proper comparison of the myriad of images from 1986, particularly those between 1998 and 2000, can aid in addressing the validity of these claims.

In addition to the desire by many to make the RMS Titanic a protected memorial site, there remains a continuing need for dedicated science and archeology to learn as well as to remember. From a microbiological standpoint, research and development could further address the issues surrounding the rusticles as very unusual life forms. The ongoing controversy over the RMS Titanic carries with it the possibility of profound consequences. To learn from this tragic disaster, still within the halls of memory, is an essential legacy of the RMS Titanic. As one of a large number of sadly sunken ships, the RMS Titanic stands apart from all of the others through representing the ending of one complete chapter in the history of humankind. RMS Titanic has earned the right to become a site to be remembered, revered and respected and from which knowledge should grow rather than simply become yet another site to be plundered.

1 University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
2 Droycon Bioconcepts Inc., Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

© Roy Cullimore 2000

Microbiological Scientific Activity on the RMS Titanic

1996 to 1998

RMS Titanic Inc., in conjunction with Discovery Channel, organized an expedition in 1996 that would begin to address the science associated with the ship, from the disaster itself, onwards as she sails into archeological history. The questions asked of me were related to the observed deterioration of the ship's structures and the possibility that these events were orchestrated by microbes. The following events were undertaken in the above stated time period in an attempt to begin to understand the nature of these events:


Experiment 1: Place two BARTTM tests on the bridge deck to determine whether heterotrophic aerobic and iron-related bacteria were active on the ship. The tests were brought back in 3 and 12 days respectively. Both BARTTM tests showed that there was bacterial activity belonging to each of these two bacterial groups.
Experiment 2: Place two unexposed but developed color slide film coupons on the bridge deck to determine whether there were microbes present that could degrade the gelatin proteins in the film. The one experiment, brought back after 3 days, indicated that the microbial degradation of the protein had already started. When the second experiment was recovered, the proteins were deeply etched, forming a variety of patterns that appeared to be more art than science.
Experiment 3: Recover rusticles from the ship's abundant growth, hanging down from the ship and also from the metal pieces being recovered for metallurgical studies. These rusticles were returned to the Regina laboratories for analysis. They were found to be a complex mixture of various microbial species living in a variety of structures within the rusticles. Elements of their form and function were observed and the basic nature of these growths was as living iron-rich concretions.
Experiment 4: Survey, in a scientific manner, the port and starboard sides of the bow section concentrating on the promenade deck that appeared to be suffering from a most severe rusticle infestation. This video imagery has become a guide to assess the rate of deterioration of the promenade deck. On the basis of this survey, the density and size of rusticle growths were projected on the outside of the bow. It was projected to be 650 tons dry weight.


Experiment 5: It was evident from the previous work done in 1996 and ongoing laboratory studies, that the steel structures on the ship are biodeteriorating as a result of the rusticles removing iron from the steel. Four IPSCO Steel Platforms were placed on the ship:

(1) Just forward of the right engine in the stem of ship on a rusticle flow from the double bottomed hull;
(2) On the port boat deck just aft of the bridge by the first port lifeboat position;
(3) Just to the port side of the stem at the very front of the bow close to a debris field of decayed rusticles;
(4) Immediately below the port side well deck on the ocean floor.

Each platform had 15 metal coupons separated into three groups (mild steel, AH36 and EH36, modem maritime steel). Within each group of five coupons, one was a control while the others were either hammered, twisted, burnt or tempered. The coupons were arrayed in a manner that would encourage rusticles to grow over the steel. After seven days, it was reported that growth was occurring, however there has been no imagery received that would indicate the state of these platform since the 1998 expeditions.
Experiment 6: A fundamental question is whether the environment at the site is too extreme for surface microorganisms to survive if exposed to those conditions. Five American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) strains of bacteria were sent down to the site under confined conditions in which they did become exposed to, but could not contaminate, the local conditions of pressure, temperature and salinity. The period of exposure at the site was approximately eighteen hours. All five species were recovered with an one order of magnitude loss in cell numbers. Surface microbes that had sunk with the ship, or arrived at the site later, could therefore, possibly adapt and form a part of the microbial activity.
Experiment 7: An extension of the BARTTM tests conducted in 1996, was conducted in 1998. Miniature laboratories, called BARTTM platforms, were placed at the same sites as three of the four IPSCO Test Platforms. All three of the BARTTM platforms were recovered during the expedition and all showed evidence of active bacterial growth.
Experiment 8: A series of film etch coupons were taken to the site and held there for various times. Complex etching patterns were again observed and these, together with the images obtained in 1996, became a part of the "Dominion of Nature" in which photomicrographic images have been blown up on Agfatran and back-lit.
Experiment 9: Rusticles were recovered from the "Big Piece" and from the "D Deck Door", brought up during the 1998 Expedition. Analysis of these samples confirmed the presence of complex microbial consortia within an iron-rich concrete-like structure.

Extensions to the Experiments: 1998 to 2000

> Educational: Cooperation with firstly, RMS Titanic Inc., and later with Maryland Science Center, has led to the bringing of some aspects of the science into the public forum. Specifically, in 1999, aspects of this research were introduced into the Titanic Exhibitions in Hamburg, Germany and Zurich, Switzerland, through RMS Titanic Inc. Also in 1999, there began an ongoing dialog with Maryland Science Center for the incorporation of some elements of this work into "Titanic Science, Depths of Discovery" that is due to open in November 2000. Within a matter of weeks a local exhibition will open at the Saskatchewan Science Center title "Titanic, the Saskatchewan Connection". The Maryland exhibition, which will tour and is supported by the National Science Foundation, will include many aspects of the scientific studies including some of the following:

> Walk through a rusticle (1 6' x 12' structure) through which visitors can walk and see the different structures that have been seen in these organisms;
> Dominion of Nature: an exhibition of the etchings;
> The Biodeterioration of the Titanic: a set a drawings of the bow of the ship as she was in 1986, 1996 and possibly 2012 and 2112;
> Culturing rusticles: an aquarium in which rusticles are actually being grown;
> Small educational take-home type kits.

Progress from 1998

1. Patent application for the use of electromagnetic forces to relocate microbial fouling events in water, oil and gas wells.
2. Development of techniques for the rapid culture of rusticles under laboratory conditions.
3. Investigations of the relationship of bacteria to the formation of concrete-like structures and the possible role of microbes in the "curing" of concrete.
4. Antibacterial agents within rusticles.
5. The iron cycle as it relates to the rusticles.
6. Improved diagnostic techniques for the determination of biodeterioration in water, oil and gas wells and also improved methods for the rehabilitation of these wells. Most of the emphasis here is on plugging water wells. This is a very serious problem globally, with the U.S. having approximately 15 million water wells, of which the majority are becoming biologically compromised.
7. Predictive techniques to project the rate of deterioration of these wells as well as the RMS Titanic.

Challenges and Achievements

RMS Titanic Inc., in conjunction with Discovery Channel, organized an expedition in 1996 that would begin to address the science associated with the ship from the disaster itself onwards as she sails into archeological history.

Two arenas of conducting science at the site of the RMS Titanic relate to the challenges, as well as the achievements. Historically, the science relating to the site began early on with the realization that there was an abundance of valuable information from a variety of disciplines, not only forensic evidence, that could be used to determine the manner is which the ship sank, broke up and came to rest on the ocean floor amid a large debris field. This evidence was in the field of the marine architects and the metallurgists who concentrated on the pathway of events that had enacted on that fateful night in 1912. Archeologists were intrigued by the various states of decay or pristine preservation that existed in the various artifacts observed both in the debris field and on the ship. Over 5,000 artifacts have been recovered and restored with patience and care.

The manner in which the RMS Titanic has burnt into the global social consciousness made has made this ship more than any other, the center of attention. As a result there were a number of expeditions to the site often with the mass communication media heavily involved. Major events at the site include the IMAX expedition (1991), James Cameron (1995) and the Discovery channel/NBC (1996 and 1998). These latter two events incorporated a significant level of science, primarily to provide interesting dimensions to the ongoing storyline that is the RMS Titanic. The support for the science was therefore designed to educate and interest the audience. In 1997, the documentary "Titanic, Anatomy of a Disaster" became the highest rating episodic show on the Discovery channel, in part, because it was a fine weave between history, the nature of the disaster and the state of the ship today. This documentary focused on the science and even showed experiments going down to be left on the ship for a period of time. In 1998, the science was expanded with more experiments going down to the ship. Funding came from the Discovery channel and was limited to preparing the experiments and ensuring that they could be placed at the appropriate sites. There was no ongoing funding to continue the research. For myself, I am a major shareholder of a small successful biotechnology, Droycon Bioconcepts Inc., DBI, that manufactures the BARTTM water test kits for nuisance bacteria as well as research and development activities. Because of internal funding from this source, the research on the microbiology of the RMS Titanic was able to proceed. No attempts were made to obtain external funding except for the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (forensic committee, SD-7) who gave $8,500 in support to the Universities of Regina and Daltech in Halifax. Internal funding has amounted to contribution, in-kind, of US$50,000 per annum, but the products of that effort have been woven into the other research activities that are also ongoing at DBI. This "cross pollination" of projects at DBI is partly because of the area of applied microbial ecology that DBI has developed an expertise in. These are briefly:

Recovering water wells from severe biological fouling (plugging). The bacterial consortia down water wells closely resemble the rusticles at the RMS Titanic. Through beginning to understand the nature of rusticle growth and their affinity to particular electrical charged sites it has become possible to develop a new (patent pending) treatment to rehabilitate plugging water wells more economically.

Ironically oil wells need to have the water entering (and blocking) the production flow of oil from a well plugged off. Research is now ongoing literally in growing rusticles down oil wells to aid in the plugging off the water before it enters the oil well. This work is in the advanced stage of development approaching the field testing stage.

The range of BARTTM test systems is growing and also becoming automated. In 1996, a., prototype computer test system was successfully used on the Ocean Voyager research ship and functioned through a laptop computer even through the Atlantic storms. Since then the whole hardware has been simplified and will be shortly marketed as the BARTSCANTM system and will be subjected to EPA verification as an alternative testing technology for the biochemical oxygen demand 5-day test.

Rusticles are forms of living porous concrete and, as such, offer an opportunity to determine to potential role of microbes in the "curing" of concrete. Parallel studies conducted jointly with Canada Agriculture (PFRA) in Regina found that the use of inoculated bacteria in the making of Portland concrete gave a similar strength along with a more porous structure when compared to sterile control concrete. At this time DBI does not have the funds to pursue this project but it remains a tantalizing challenge.

Notwithstanding that the only difference between art and science is that the former discourages replication while the latter favors it, art also has been found on the RMS Titanic in the form of bacterial etchings. Since 1966, a low level of research has been proceeding on the use of bacterial proteolysis in soils, muds and water to determine bacterial activity. This activity is recorded by "exposing" an unexposed but developed color (black) slide film to the environment. Bacteria beginning to mine the gelatin out of the film leaving behind the color layers they did not want to "mine". Complex patterns and beautiful etchings are so created right on the border of art and science.
Within the maritime industry there is a general lack of appreciation of the potential impacts of microbial activities on the sustainability of floating and submerged structures. These activities relate primarily to the deterioration of steels. This issue will be addressed in part at the Vancouver meeting of SNAME where a paper will be presented on the rusticles but will include this topic. Concerns particularly relate to corrosion between twin hulls, in bilge tanks and at places where water is being used for ballasting purposes. These sites could all become subject to rusticle-type growths that could affect the integrity of the structures. Additionally concrete structures such as those used in the Hibernia drilling platform may also be at risk. For Hibernia the problem relates to the use of pig iron saturated with seawater to supply ballasting. Here an environment has been inadvertently established where there could be very significant microbial activities leading to localized corrosion of the concrete walls.
At the educational end of science, the Maryland Science Center in part through a grant from the National Science Foundation is preparing to open "Titanic Science, Depths of Discovery" in November 2000. Included in the exhibition from the science being conducted here are: (1) walk through the rusticle, (2) growing r-usticles, (3) Dominion of Nature (etching), (4) biodeterioration of the ship (morphing), (5) placement of experiments at the site, and (6) the IPSCO steel platforms.

This research activity has been undertaken without a heavy involvement by either government and non-govermnent organizations. The funding has mostly been restricted to internal (DBI) sources and yet there are tremendous opportunities for scientific advancement relating to environmental and sustainability issues. The site of the RMS Titanic presents a series of interesting opportunities to study deep oceanic "weather patterns", which have changed over the 1996 to 1998 time period, the complex nature of the almost isolated and untouched biosphere that has developed there, the interaction of these organisms with the steel on the ship, the potential impacts that microorganisms can have on steel and concrete structures in contact with seawater, and the unique nature of the rusticles as a whole different form of life and possibly containing elements that could also aid in the curing of concretes. The role of the application of electromagnetic forces to these structures as a means to focus growth on and biodeterioration in steels and concretes. There also arises that interesting question as to whether rust is living or simply a dead physico-chemical reaction. The implications of this are major in many industries.

General Comments:

The RMS Titanic has created, in my mind and the way I view the world, many differences since the first dive in 1996. From that sad tragedy is now emerging the challenges of learning of new life forms, extreme environments, of the vulnerability of steel, and of Nature gradually recycling. Here, Nature is retrieving and returning that which was the RMS Titanic, back into the myriad of living cycles that form life. The list of possible benefits from the science blossoming on the ship could be: more sustainable ships, stronger concretes, better steels, new uses for electromagnetic forces, an understanding of a new group of life forms previously never recognized nor understood, and possibly new drugs. All of these possibilities emerge from the "ship of dreams" but how would this be done and who would do it?

Summary Statement

D. Roy Cullimore. Sunday, September 3, 2000

I have visited the RMS Titanic site in both 1996 and 1998 in the submarine Nautile as a part of the expeditions that were organized in those years. My role, as a microbiologist, was to determine the nature of the growths that were developing on the bow section of the RMS Titanic. These growths, known as rusticles, were found to be living, not a single species of a plant or animal, but rather a complex of microbial communities living within an iron-rich and calcium-deficient porous concrete-like home. They were found to be extracting iron from the steel of the ship and then exporting that iron into the oceanic environment as red dust and yellow colloids (slimes). This was discovered in laboratory based studies using rusticles recovered from the site. There appeared to be considerably more rusticle-type growths in 1998 than in 1996 and an examination of the video images from those two expeditions revealed an increase of approximately 30%. This would indicate that the removal of iron from the ship is an ongoing and accelerating activity. In 1998, the IPSCO Steel Test Platforms were placed on the ship at strategic locations to determine the rates of iron loss that was now being experienced. Unfortunately this activity was not of interest to the current administration of RMS Titanic Inc. and no attempt was made to either provide photographic evidence of the state of the steels coupons on the platforms or offer to retrieve one or more of these platforms. No request was made to the company because there was no interest expressed in continuing the science and attention was totally focused on artifact retrieval. In contrast to this, the Maryland Science Center (MSC) with the support of the National Science Foundation is organizing a science-based exhibition, which complements the artifact-based exhibitions being organized by the company. In support of the MSC attempts have been made to begin to generate a predictive understanding of the speed with which the RMS Titanic bow section is collapsing. Based upon available video imagery up to 1998, there can be projected a rate of biodeterioration that would be partially dependent on the growth rate of the rusticles both inside and outside the steel, and also on the rate at which the iron is being exported into the oceanic environment The table below summarizes the potential losses of iron from the bow section under various conditions.

Estimated Time (calendar year, AD) Frame

For the Losses of Iron from the Steel Bow Section, RMS Titanic

Percentile Steel Loss under various Growth Conditions

Growth Rate 10% 20% 30% 40%
Extreme 2020 2026 2034 2045
High 2032 2048 2056 2068
Moderate 2050 2068 2088 2106
Low 2098 2212 2326 2440

Note: these are estimates based on a considerable level of uncertainty. 10% loss of iron would translate into the loss of all superstructures above the hull, 20% loss would mean that all of the internal steel structures supporting the decking would have collapsed, 30% would mean that the steel plating of the hull itself was collapsing, and 40% would mean that there would be very little structures above the large heavy iron structures such as the boilers. It should also be noted that additional information from subsequent excursions in 1999 and 2000 to the RMS Titanic could allow more accurate predictions to be made.

In the event that the biodeterioration is proceeding at an even faster rate than the "extreme" condition listed in the above table than there must have been some very dramatic changes in the environmental conditions at the site. These changes would have had to stimulate the growth of the rusticles one or two orders of magnitude beyond this estimate. This might occur at the site if there were to be a sudden increase in the available nutrients (e.g., "sea snow', dissolved organic matter and/or slime from the ocean floor) to accelerate the growth or there were dramatic changes in the environmental conditions at-site. For example, sudden rises in temperature, shift in the pH, or changes in the reduction-oxidation potential.

RMS Titanic provides a unique site for the pursuance of deep-oceanic science, as well as archeology. There are many facets of the science that can be explored, to learn not only more from that tragedy, but also perhaps prevent parallel tragedies in the future.


Pellegrino, C. and D. Roy Cullimore (1997). The Rebirth of the RMS Titanic: A study of the Bioarcheology of a Physically Disrupted Sunken Vessel. Voyage 25, June, pp.39-46.

Garzke, W.H., Brown, D.K., Matthius, P.K., Cullimore, R., Wood, D., Livingstone, D., Leighley, H.P., Foecke, T., and A. Sandiford (1 997). Titanic, The Anatomy of a Disaster, A report from the marine forensic panel (SD-7). The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers proceedings of the annual meeting, Ottawa, Canada. Paper number one, 1 -I to 1-47.

Alford, G., and Roy Cullimore (I 998). The Application of Heat and Chemicals in the Control of Biofouling Events in Wells. Technical series: The Sustainable Wells (Series Editor: Dr. Roy Cullimore). Appendix pages 162-166. ISBN 1566703859.

Cullimore R., and L. Johnston (1 999). The Fate of the Iron: More Lessons From The Titanic Tragedy. Maritime Reporter, August 1999. Pp.22 & 66.

Cullimore R. and L. Johnston (2000). The Science and the RMS Titanic, The Biological Odyssey. Voyage 32, Spring Issue, Pp. 172-176. ISSN 1054-9269.

Cullimore R. and L. Johnston (2000). The Impact of Bioconcretious Structures (Rusticles) on the RMS Titanic: Implications to Maritime Steel Structures. The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers Annual Conference. Publication and presentation October 6, 2000. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Cullimore R. and L. Johnston (2000). Biodeterioration of the RMS Titanic. Canadian Chemical News Magazine (submitted for publication: November/December 2000)

Personal Biography of Denis Roy Cullimore, Ph.D., Registered Microbiologist (C.C.M.)

Born in Oxford, U.K. in 1936, educated at University of Nottingham obtaining a B.Sc. (Agricultural Science) with Honors in 1959 and a Ph.D. in agricultural microbiology in 1962. Lecturer at the University of Surrey, U.K., from 1962 to 1968 when appointed to a faculty position at the University of Regina, Canada. Now Director, Regina Water Research Institute and Professor of Microbiology at that institution. Registered microbiologist with the Canadian College of Microbiology. Main expertise is in the area of applied microbial ecology. Major scientific activities are listed by the decade they occurred in:

1960 - 69: Microbial genetics of fat synthesis, soil fertility testing using algae (U.K. patent), research highlighted on the BBC TV show "Tomorrow's World".

1970 - 79: Pesticide interaction with soil microorganisms; detection of iron bacteria in water wells, presented two series of six television documentary shows on microbiology in the CTV "University of the Aie' series.

1980 - 89: Development of technologies to diagnose and rehabilitate biofouled water wells (two U.S. patents); research projects relating to various aspects of applied microbial ecology; formed Droycon Bioconcepts Inc as a biotechnology company to conduct research, development and manufacture of intellectual properties, initiated sales of the BARTTM water test systems for nuisance bacteria in water. Two-week display at the provincial art gallery on bacteria etchings recovered from high sand content golf courses suffering from black plug layer fouling.

1990 - 2000: Member of the federal Canadian Scientific Review Group for the environmental impact assessment of high level nuclear disposal proposals, refined and field tested new methods for the rehabilitation of biofouled water wells, examined the potential for significant microbial biofouling of oil and gas wells, member of the 1996 and 1998 scientific expeditions to the RMS Titanic and appeared in several documentaries, authored two books on ground water microbiology and became series editor on the topic "technical series on sustainable wells" for Lewis Publishing / CRC Press with three books published to-date in the series, became one of a team of three presenters for a series of two-day workshops on water well rehabilitation for the ngwa, expanded the range of BARTTM tests and consulting activities, co-invented three approved (U.S.) patents including new coliform test, synthesis of in-ground biological barriers, and an alternative bacteriological testing procedure, developed a predictive method for deter-mining the rate at which water wells become fouled (well fouling index), designed part of the "Titanic Science, Depths of Discovery" exhibition for the Maryland Science Center with partial funding coming from the National Science Foundation and due to open late in 2000, developing a new method for conducting rapid and accurate biochemical oxygen demand tests using the BARTTM technology, and authored a book published in 2000 by Lewis Publishing / CRC Press on "Simplified Atlas for Bacteria Identification".

Productivity: published over one hundred refereed papers, 250 non-refereed papers, and 400 technical reports. Has received over U.S.$3,000,000 in academic research contributions and U.S.$1,400,000 in commercial research and development support.

Hobbies: cartooning (one book published), children's stories (two books published) and poetry.

Web site: www.dbi.sk.ea


  Send New Information

Comment and discuss

  1. John M. Feeney

    John M. Feeney said:

    Roy and Lori: An excellent and highly professional research paper! Thanks especially for tabulating the myriad possibilities for disintegration timeframes. One usually hears -- through the grapevine, at least -- only the extremes. One question, which may forever date my chemical knowledge: In citing the "green rust" iron oxide sulfate complex as [indent](Fe[sup]+2[/sup][sub]3.6[/sub] Fe[sup]+3[/sup][sub]0.9[/sub] (O[sup]--[/sup], OH[sup]-[/sup], SO[sub]4[/sub][sup]--[/sup])[sub]9[/sub])[/indent] you employed what appears to be an empirical formula using fractional subscripts. Is this indeed the case, and if so, is this identical to [indent](Fe[sup]+2[/sup][sub]4[/sub] Fe[sup]+3[/sup] (O[sup]--[/sup], OH[sup]-[/sup], SO[sub]4[/sub][sup]--[/sup])[sub]10[/sub]) ?[/indent] If so, can you advise what the significance of the decimalized subscripts is (or if not)? If the explanation is lengthy, just point me to the appropriate field -- biochem, etc. -- and I can

  2. John M. Feeney

    John M. Feeney said:

    Oh well, I thought it was excellent. And if you heard otherwise, well ... Take it as a compliment! :^)

  3. Philip Hind

    Philip Hind said:

    Well, I like your formula John!

  4. John M. Feeney

    John M. Feeney said:

    Thanks, Phil (blush): And sorry about that slight sullenness last night. Six hours of research on top of very little sleep wears me a bit thin ... (By the way, these quick responses on your part are actually a little scary. Makes you seem a bit like God, if you know what I mean.) ;^) Cheers!

  5. Philip Hind

    Philip Hind said:

    I do thunderbolts too ;o)

  6. Geoff Whitfield

    Geoff Whitfield said:

    My chemist has a cure for those Phil!

  7. John M. Feeney

    John M. Feeney said:

    Hey, Phil: Shame on you! I just noticed that all of the links to this article show "by Roy Cullimore". But they completely omit Lori Johnston! It *is* a co-authored piece. Cheers!

  8. John M. Feeney

    John M. Feeney said:

    Phil: But of course, I mean that (above) in the nicest possible way ... Cheers!


Leave a comment

Find Related Items


Encyclopedia Titanica (2003) Biodeterioration of the RMS Titanic (Titanica!, ref: #1478, published 28 August 2003, generated 24th November 2022 07:21:39 AM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/rms-titanic-biodeterioration.html