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Oil field souring control by nitrate-reducing Sulfurospirillum spp. that outcompete sulfate-reducing bacteria for organic electron donors.

ABSTRACT: Nitrate injection into oil reservoirs can prevent and remediate souring, the production of hydrogen sulfide by sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB). Nitrate stimulates nitrate-reducing, sulfide-oxidizing bacteria (NR-SOB) and heterotrophic nitrate-reducing bacteria (hNRB) that compete with SRB for degradable oil organics. Up-flow, packed-bed bioreactors inoculated with water produced from an oil field and injected with lactate, sulfate, and nitrate served as sources for isolating several NRB, including Sulfurospirillum and Thauera spp. The former coupled reduction of nitrate to nitrite and ammonia with oxidation of either lactate (hNRB activity) or sulfide (NR-SOB activity). Souring control in a bioreactor receiving 12.5 mM lactate and 6, 2, 0.75, or 0.013 mM sulfate always required injection of 10 mM nitrate, irrespective of the sulfate concentration. Community analysis revealed that at all but the lowest sulfate concentration (0.013 mM), significant SRB were present. At 0.013 mM sulfate, direct hNRB-mediated oxidation of lactate by nitrate appeared to be the dominant mechanism. The absence of significant SRB indicated that sulfur cycling does not occur at such low sulfate concentrations. The metabolically versatile Sulfurospirillum spp. were dominant when nitrate was present in the bioreactor. Analysis of cocultures of Desulfovibrio sp. strain Lac3, Lac6, or Lac15 and Sulfurospirillum sp. strain KW indicated its hNRB activity and ability to produce inhibitory concentrations of nitrite to be key factors for it to successfully outcompete oil field SRB.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC1855586 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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