Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Two novel species of bacteria isolated from oil wells

23.11.2004


Oilfields usually represent extreme environments, where physicochemical conditions appear at first sight to be generally unsuitable for living organisms to develop. However, these environments, usually poor in nitrates and oxygen, harbour a rich diverse community of microorganisms. The most widely represented and best-known types are sulfate-reducing, methanogenic and fermentative bacteria.



Nitrate-reducing bacteria, on the other hand, have received little research attention regarding their biology and role. Nevertheless some of their bacteria are known also to have the ability to oxidize sulfates. These components, which can result from metabolic activity of sulfate-reducing bacteria, prove dangerous for the environment and corrosive for drilling equipment. Nitrate injection is practised in some regions of the world in order to restrict the emission of sulfites produced during processes of exploitation of oil deposits. This input of nitrates stimulates nitrate-reducing bacteria, initially present in low quantities in the waters associated with oil reservoirs, to proliferate (2). They thus induce at once inhibition of the development of sulfate-reducing bacteria and oxidation of sulfides that such microorganisms produce.

The question remains of determining whether or not these nitrate inputs into the petroleum reservoir environment can favour the growth of populations of nitrate-reducing microorganisms different from those which oxidize the sulfides, in this way modifying the microbial ecology of oil wells. IRD scientists are therefore investigating in the laboratory the metabolism of novel nitrate-reducing bacteria, especially those able to oxidize organic acids. These acids are often present in the waters of oil reservoirs.


The IRD team surveyed oilfields in Australia and Mexico, along with their scientific partners in these countries (1). The group has succeeded in isolating and identifying two novel nitrate-reducing bacteria, Petrobacter succinatimandens and Garciella nitratireductens (3), which can be distinguished by their metabolic activities. The bacterium Petrobacter succinatimandens, extracted from an oil well located in Queensland, in the East of Australia, was shown to be capable of oxidizing the organic acids. It has an aerobic metabolism, which means that it develops in the presence of oxygen. Accidental introduction of oxygen, by means of an input of water from outside the oil deposit (rainwater infiltrations, common practice of water injection while oil is being extracted) could explain the presence of this bacterium and its survival in an anaerobic environment. However, Garciella nitratireductens, isolated from several oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico, has an anaerobic metabolism, like most microorganisms that live in these kinds of habitat.

This research work brings fundamental new information about oil reservoir ecosystems and the microorganisms which colonize there. In particular they offer the oil industry the means to gauge more accurately the biodiversity of nitrate-reducing microorganisms in the reservoirs and the impact of their metabolism on the biogeochemical cycles of matter, within these environments. Other research has been embarked upon in order to identify bacteria potentially useful for industry, characteristic of oil reservoir environments, which might be usefully deployed in aided recuperation of oil deposits by microorganism-based processes (production of acids, gases and surfactants…).

(1) The IRD worked with Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia in one investigation, and with the Autonomous Metropolitan University of Mexico City and the Mexican Petroleum Institute, in the other.

(2) In this case, development occurs entirely in an enclosed environment.

(3) They are two species, each representing a new genus. Petrobacter succinatimandens belongs to the b-Proteobacteria class and Garciella nitratireductens to the Clostridiales order.

Marie Guillaume | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ird.fr

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Despite government claims, orangutan populations have not increased. Call for better monitoring
06.11.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Increasing frequency of ocean storms could alter kelp forest ecosystems
30.10.2018 | University of Virginia

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

New findings help to better calculate the oceans’ contribution to climate regulation

15.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Automated adhesive film placement and stringer integration for aircraft manufacture

15.11.2018 | Materials Sciences

Epoxy compound gets a graphene bump

14.11.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>