Clogging of Aircraft Fuel Filters by microbial contaminants in jet fuel can pose a serious threat to safe operations.


If conditions are favourable, microbes can reproduce and grow resulting in the formation of visible slimy growth known as biomass. When this occurs in fuel tanks the biomass is most commonly observed at the interface between fuel and any water or as a slimy film of growth on tank surfaces, known as a biofilm. Turbulence in the tank can disperse the biomass into the fuel and where this occurs in aircraft fuel tanks the consequences can be very serious. If there is a significant increase in differential pressure across the engine fuel filters because of particulate accumulation, the flight crew will be alerted with an impending bypass indication. Most of these indications occur during or soon after take-off when fuel flow through filters is highest. Aircraft may need to be diverted or return to the airport. If filters clog and are bypassed, the contamination in the fuel could potentially reach the engine and cause failure.

Fuel is the only aircraft component which has no back up, and if contamination causes engine failure, there are no lay-bys in the sky!  Aircraft operators know that fuel filter clogging is an issue which should be avoided at all costs.

ECHA can;

  • Conduct analysis of samples of fuel and filters from your facility or aircraft in our laboratory to assess the extent of microbiological contamination. Learn more about our lab analysis service here.
  • Provide on-site microbial Test Kits. ECHA’s MicrobMonitor2 is a globally recognised industry standard test (IP 613/ASTM D7978) which can be used on-site or in the laboratory by non-microbiologists for the detection of microbiological contamination. Learn more about the test here.
  • Conduct surveys of tanks and systems on your fuel farm or airport if you have a concern about microbiological contamination. Learn more about our Site Surveys here.
  • Provide advice on remediation, control, monitoring strategies and best practice. Learn more about our Consultancy Services here.
  • Offer comprehensive, tailored training courses on microbiological contamination of jet fuels. Learn more about our Training Courses here.