Crude oil as a microbial seed bank with unexpected functional potentials.
ABSTRACT: It was widely believed that oil is a harsh habitat for microbes because of its high toxicity and hydrophobicity. However, accumulating evidence has revealed the presence of live microbes in crude oil. Therefore, it's of value to conduct an in-depth investigation on microbial communities in crude oil. To this end, microorganisms in oil and water phases were collected from four oil-well production mixtures in Qinghai Oilfield, China, and analyzed for their taxonomic and functional compositions via pyrosequencing and GeoChip, respectively. Hierarchical clustering of 16S rRNA gene sequences and functional genes clearly separated crude oil and water phases, suggestive of distinct taxonomic and functional gene compositions between crude oil and water phases. Unexpectedly, Pseudomonas dominated oil phase where diverse functional gene groups were identified, which significantly differed from those in the corresponding water phases. Meanwhile, most functional genes were significantly more abundant in oil phase, which was consistent with their important roles in facilitating survival of their host organisms in crude oil. These findings provide strong evidence that crude oil could be a "seed bank" of functional microorganisms with rich functional potentials. This offers novel insights for industrial applications of microbial-enhanced oil recovery and bioremediation of petroleum-polluted environments.
Project description:Samples of oil and production water were collected from five wells of the Qinghai Oilfield, China, and subjected to GeoChip hybridization experiments for microbial functional diversity profiling. Unexpectedly, a remarkable microbial diversity in oil samples, which was higher than that in the corresponding water samples, was observed, thus challenging previously believed assumptions about the microbial diversity in this ecosystem. Hierarchical clustering separated oil and water samples, thereby indicating distinct functional structures in the samples. Genes involved in the degradation of hydrocarbons, organic remediation, stress response, and carbon cycling were significantly abundant in crude oil, which is consistent with their important roles in residing in oil. Association analysis with environmental variables suggested that oil components comprising aromatic hydrocarbons, aliphatic hydrocarbons, and a polar fraction with nitrogen-, sulfur-, and oxygen-containing compounds were mainly influential on the structure of the microbial community. Furthermore, a comparison of microbial communities in oil samples indicated that the structures were depth/temperature-dependent. To our knowledge, this is the first thorough study to profile microbial functional diversity in crude oil samples. From the Qinghai Oilfield located in the Tibetan Plateau, northwest China, oil production mixtures were taken from four oil production wells (No. 813, 516, 48 and 27) and one injection well (No. 517) in the Yue-II block. The floating oil and water phases of the production mixtures were separated overnight by gravitational separation. Subsequently, the microbial community and the characteristics of the water solution (W813, W516, W48, and W27) and floating crude oil (O813, O516, O48, and O27) samples were analyzed. A similar analysis was performed with the injection water solution (W517).
Project description:Although methanogenic degradation of hydrocarbons has become a well-known process, little is known about which crude oil tend to be degraded at different temperatures and how the microbial community is responded. In this study, we assessed the methanogenic crude oil degradation capacity of oily sludge microbes enriched from the Shengli oilfield under mesophilic and thermophilic conditions. The microbial communities were investigated by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis of 16S rRNA genes combined with cloning and sequencing. Enrichment incubation demonstrated the microbial oxidation of crude oil coupled to methane production at 35 and 55°C, which generated 3.7±0.3 and 2.8±0.3 mmol of methane per gram oil, respectively. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis revealed that crude oil n-alkanes were obviously degraded, and high molecular weight n-alkanes were preferentially removed over relatively shorter-chain n-alkanes. Phylogenetic analysis revealed the concurrence of acetoclastic Methanosaeta and hydrogenotrophic methanogens but different methanogenic community structures under the two temperature conditions. Candidate divisions of JS1 and WWE 1, Proteobacteria (mainly consisting of Syntrophaceae, Desulfobacteraceae and Syntrophorhabdus) and Firmicutes (mainly consisting of Desulfotomaculum) were supposed to be involved with n-alkane degradation in the mesophilic conditions. By contrast, the different bacterial phylotypes affiliated with Caldisericales, "Shengli Cluster" and Synergistetes dominated the thermophilic consortium, which was most likely to be associated with thermophilic crude oil degradation. This study revealed that the oily sludge in Shengli oilfield harbors diverse uncultured microbes with great potential in methanogenic crude oil degradation over a wide temperature range, which extend our previous understanding of methanogenic degradation of crude oil alkanes.
Project description:One consequence of oil production is the possibility of unplanned accidental oil spills; therefore, it is important to evaluate the potential of indigenous microorganisms (both prokaryotes and eukaryotes) from different oceanic basins to degrade oil. The aim of this study was to characterize the microbial response during the biodegradation process of Brazilian crude oil, both with and without the addition of the dispersant Corexit 9500, using deep-sea water samples from the Amazon equatorial margin basins, Foz do Amazonas and Barreirinhas, in the dark and at low temperatures (4°C). We collected deep-sea samples in the field (about 2570 m below the sea surface), transported the samples back to the laboratory under controlled environmental conditions (5°C in the dark) and subsequently performed two laboratory biodegradation experiments that used metagenomics supported by classical microbiological methods and chemical analysis to elucidate both taxonomic and functional microbial diversity. We also analyzed several physical-chemical and biological parameters related to oil biodegradation. The concomitant depletion of dissolved oxygen levels, oil droplet density characteristic to oil biodegradation, and BTEX concentration with an increase in microbial counts revealed that oil can be degraded by the autochthonous deep-sea microbial communities. Indigenous bacteria (e.g., Alteromonadaceae, Colwelliaceae, and Alcanivoracaceae), archaea (e.g., Halobacteriaceae, Desulfurococcaceae, and Methanobacteriaceae), and eukaryotic microbes (e.g., Microsporidia, Ascomycota, and Basidiomycota) from the Amazonian margin deep-sea water were involved in biodegradation of Brazilian crude oil within less than 48-days in both treatments, with and without dispersant, possibly transforming oil into microbial biomass that may fuel the marine food web.
Project description:Water-flooded oil reservoirs have specific ecological environments due to continual water injection and oil production and water recycling. Using 16S rRNA gene clone library analysis, the microbial communities present in injected waters and produced waters from four typical water-flooded oil reservoirs with different in situ temperatures of 25 °C, 40 °C, 55 °C and 70 °C were examined. The results obtained showed that the higher the in situ temperatures of the oil reservoirs is, the less the effects of microorganisms in the injected waters on microbial community compositions in the produced waters is. In addition, microbes inhabiting in the produced waters of the four water-flooded oil reservoirs were varied but all dominated by Proteobacteria. Moreover, most of the detected microbes were not identified as indigenous. The objective of this study was to expand the pictures of the microbial ecosystem of water-flooded oil reservoirs.
Project description:Biodegradation of crude oil in subsurface petroleum reservoirs has adversely impacted most of the world's oil, converting this resource to heavier forms that are of lower quality and more challenging to recover. Oil degradation in deep reservoir environments has been attributed to methanogenesis over geological time, yet our understanding of the processes and organisms mediating oil transformation in the absence of electron acceptors remains incomplete. Here, we sought to identify hydrocarbon activation mechanisms and reservoir-associated microorganisms that may have helped shape the formation of biodegraded oil by incubating oilfield produced water in the presence of light (°API = 32) or heavy crude oil (°API = 16). Over the course of 17 months, we conducted routine analytical (GC, GC-MS) and molecular (PCR/qPCR of assA and bssA genes, 16S rRNA gene sequencing) surveys to assess microbial community composition and activity changes over time. Over the incubation period, we detected the formation of transient hydrocarbon metabolites indicative of alkane and alkylbenzene addition to fumarate, corresponding with increases in methane production and fumarate addition gene abundance. Chemical and gene-based evidence of hydrocarbon biodegradation under methanogenic conditions was supported by the enrichment of hydrocarbon fermenters known to catalyze fumarate addition reactions (e.g., Desulfotomaculum, Smithella), along with syntrophic bacteria (Syntrophus), methanogenic archaea, and several candidate phyla (e.g., "Atribacteria", "Cloacimonetes"). Our results reveal that fumarate addition is a possible mechanism for catalyzing the methanogenic biodegradation of susceptible saturates and aromatic hydrocarbons in crude oil, and we propose the roles of community members and candidate phyla in our cultures that may be involved in hydrocarbon transformation to methane in crude oil systems.
Project description:Current fluorescent nanoparticles-based tracer sensing techniques for oilfield applications suffer from insufficient sensitivity, with the tracer detection limit typically at the several hundred ppm level in untreated oil/water mixtures, which is mainly caused by the interference of the background fluorescence from the organic residues in crude oil under constant external excitation. Here we report the use of a persistent luminescence phenomenon, which enables an external excitation-free and thus background fluorescence-free measurement condition, for ultrahigh-sensitivity crude oil sensing. By using LiGa5O8:Cr(3+) near-infrared persistent luminescent nanoparticles as a tracer nanoagent, we achieved a tracer detection limit at the single-digit ppb level (down to 1 ppb concentration of nanoparticles) in high oil fraction (up to 65 wt.%) oil/water mixtures via a convenient, CCD camera-based imaging technique without any pretreatment or phase separation of the fluid samples. This detection limit is about four to five orders of magnitude lower than that obtained using conventional spectral methods. This study introduces a new type of tracer nanoagents and a new detection method for water tracer sensing in oil reservoir characterization and management.
Project description:Enterobacter mori strain 5-4 is a Gram-negative, motile, rod shaped, and facultatively anaerobic bacterium, which was isolated from a mixture of formation water (also known as oil-reservior water) and crude-oil in Karamay oilfield, China. To date, there is only one E. mori genome has been sequenced and very little knowledge about the mechanism of E. mori adapted to the petroleum reservoir. Here, we report the second E. mori genome sequence and annotation, together with the description of features for this organism. The 4,621,281 bp assembly genome exhibits a G?+?C content of 56.24% and contains 4,317 protein-coding and 65 RNA genes, including 5 rRNA genes.
Project description:The widespread problem caused due to petroleum products, is their discharge and accidental spillage in marine environment proving to be hazardous to the surroundings as well as life forms. Thus remediation of these hydrocarbons by natural decontamination process is of utmost importance. Bioremediation is a non-invasive and cost effective technique for the clean-up of these petroleum hydrocarbons. In this study we have investigated the ability of microorganisms present in the sediment sample to degrade these hydrocarbons, crude oil in particular, so that contaminated soils and water can be treated using microbes. Sediments samples were collected once in a month for a period of twelve months from area surrounding Ennore creek and screened for hydrocarbon degrading bacteria. Of the 113 crude oil degrading isolates 15 isolates were selected and cultivated in BH media with 1% crude oil as a sole carbon and energy source. 3 efficient crude oil bacterial isolates Bacillus subtilis I1, Pseudomonas aeruginosa I5 and Pseudomonas putida I8 were identified both biochemically and phylogenetically. The quantitative analysis of biodegradation is carried out gravimetrically and highest degradation rate, 55% was recorded by Pseudomonas aeruginosa I5 isolate.
Project description:Polymorphum gilvum SL003B-26A1(T) is a type strain of a newly published novel species in the novel genus Polymorphum. It was isolated from a crude oil-polluted saline soil in Shengli Oilfield, China, and was able to use the crude oil as the sole carbon source. Here we report the complete genome of SL003B-26A1(T) and the genes likely to be involved in oil degradation and ecological adaption.
Project description:The goal of this work was to study the overall genomic diversity of microorganisms of the Dagang high-temperature oilfield (PRC) and to characterize the metabolically active fraction of these populations. At this water-flooded oilfield, the microbial community of formation water from the near-bottom zone of an injection well where the most active microbial processes of oil degradation occur was investigated using molecular, cultural, radiotracer, and physicochemical techniques. The samples of microbial DNA and RNA from back-flushed water were used to obtain the clone libraries for the 16S rRNA gene and cDNA of 16S rRNA, respectively. The DNA-derived clone libraries were found to contain bacterial and archaeal 16S rRNA genes and the alkB genes encoding alkane monooxygenases similar to those encoded by alkB-geo1 and alkB-geo6 of geobacilli. The 16S rRNA genes of methanogens (Methanomethylovorans, Methanoculleus, Methanolinea, Methanothrix, and Methanocalculus) were predominant in the DNA-derived library of Archaea cloned sequences; among the bacterial sequences, the 16S rRNA genes of members of the genus Geobacillus were the most numerous. The RNA-derived library contained only bacterial cDNA of the 16S rRNA sequences belonging to metabolically active aerobic organotrophic bacteria (Tepidimonas, Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter), as well as of denitrifying (Azoarcus, Tepidiphilus, Calditerrivibrio), fermenting (Bellilinea), iron-reducing (Geobacter), and sulfate- and sulfur-reducing bacteria (Desulfomicrobium, Desulfuromonas). The presence of the microorganisms of the main functional groups revealed by molecular techniques was confirmed by the results of cultural, radioisotope, and geochemical research. Functioning of the mesophilic and thermophilic branches was shown for the microbial food chain of the near-bottom zone of the injection well, which included the microorganisms of the carbon, sulfur, iron, and nitrogen cycles.