Letter: This bug is covered

THE SENSATIONALISM of the story "Steel-eating microbes threaten to devour Britain's ports" (5 December) is ill-suited to this paper. The phenomenon of accelerated steel corrosion in areas intermittently covered by salt water is well-known and unlikely to be used in "germ warfare"; aggressors would use a more rapid action weapon. The phenomenon is so well-known that before I left this field more than 10 years ago I was working on solutions to it. There's a firm near Cirencester that has worked on impervious plastic wrap; galvanic protection also helps, and there are various paints and petroleum-based products on the market.


Trentham, Staffordshire