Petroleum hydrocarbon rich oil refinery sludge of North-East India harbours anaerobic, fermentative, sulfate-reducing, syntrophic and methanogenic microbial populations.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Sustainable management of voluminous and hazardous oily sludge produced by petroleum refineries remains a challenging problem worldwide. Characterization of microbial communities of petroleum contaminated sites has been considered as the essential prerequisite for implementation of suitable bioremediation strategies. Three petroleum refinery sludge samples from North Eastern India were analyzed using next-generation sequencing technology to explore the diversity and functional potential of inhabitant microorganisms and scope for their on-site bioremediation. RESULTS:All sludge samples were hydrocarbon rich, anaerobic and reduced with sulfate as major anion and several heavy metals. High throughput sequencing of V3-16S rRNA genes from sludge metagenomes revealed dominance of strictly anaerobic, fermentative, thermophilic, sulfate-reducing bacteria affiliated to Coprothermobacter, Fervidobacterium, Treponema, Syntrophus, Thermodesulfovibrio, Anaerolinea, Syntrophobacter, Anaerostipes, Anaerobaculum, etc., which have been well known for hydrocarbon degradation. Relatively higher proportions of archaea were detected by qPCR. Archaeal 16S rRNA gene sequences showed presence of methanogenic Methanobacterium, Methanosaeta, Thermoplasmatales, etc. Detection of known hydrocarbon utilizing aerobic/facultative anaerobic (Mycobacterium, Pseudomonas, Longilinea, Geobacter, etc.), nitrate reducing (Gordonia, Novosphigobium, etc.) and nitrogen fixing (Azovibrio, Rhodobacter, etc.) bacteria suggested niche specific guilds with aerobic, facultative anaerobic and strict anaerobic populations. Phylogenetic Investigation of Communities by Reconstruction of Unobserved States (PICRUSt) predicted putative genetic repertoire of sludge microbiomes and their potential for hydrocarbon degradation; lipid-, nitrogen-, sulfur- and methane- metabolism. Methyl coenzyme M reductase A (mcrA) and dissimilatory sulfite reductase beta-subunit (dsrB) genes phylogeny confirmed methanogenic and sulfate-reducing activities within sludge environment endowed by hydrogenotrophic methanogens and sulfate-reducing Deltaproteobacteria and Firmicutes members. CONCLUSION:Refinery sludge microbiomes were comprised of hydrocarbon degrading, fermentative, sulfate-reducing, syntrophic, nitrogen fixing and methanogenic microorganisms, which were in accordance with the prevailing physicochemical nature of the samples. Analysis of functional biomarker genes ascertained the activities of methanogenic and sulfate-reducing organisms within sludge environment. Overall data provided better insights on microbial diversity and activity in oil contaminated environment, which could be exploited suitably for in situ bioremediation of refinery sludge.
Project description:Nutrient deficiency severely impairs the catabolic activity of indigenous microorganisms in hydrocarbon rich environments (HREs) and limits the rate of intrinsic bioremediation. The present study aimed to characterize the microbial community in refinery waste and evaluate the scope for biostimulation based in situ bioremediation. Samples recovered from the wastewater lagoon of Guwahati refinery revealed a hydrocarbon enriched [high total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH)], oxygen-, moisture-limited, reducing environment. Intrinsic biodegradation ability of the indigenous microorganisms was enhanced significantly (>80% reduction in TPH by 90 days) with nitrate amendment. Preferred utilization of both higher- (>C30) and middle- chain (C20-30) length hydrocarbons were evident from GC-MS analysis. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and community level physiological profiling analyses indicated distinct shift in community's composition and metabolic abilities following nitrogen (N) amendment. High throughput deep sequencing of 16S rRNA gene showed that the native community was mainly composed of hydrocarbon degrading, syntrophic, methanogenic, nitrate/iron/sulfur reducing facultative anaerobic bacteria and archaebacteria, affiliated to ?- and ?-Proteobacteria and Euryarchaeota respectively. Genes for aerobic and anaerobic alkane metabolism (alkB and bssA), methanogenesis (mcrA), denitrification (nirS and narG) and N2 fixation (nifH) were detected. Concomitant to hydrocarbon degradation, lowering of dissolve O2 and increase in oxidation-reduction potential (ORP) marked with an enrichment of N2 fixing, nitrate reducing aerobic/facultative anaerobic members [e.g., Azovibrio, Pseudoxanthomonas and Comamonadaceae members] was evident in N amended microcosm. This study highlighted that indigenous community of refinery sludge was intrinsically diverse, yet appreciable rate of in situ bioremediation could be achieved by supplying adequate N sources.
Project description:In petroleum-contaminated aquifers, biodegradation is always associated with various types of microbial metabolism. It can be classified as autotrophic (such as methanogenic and other carbon fixation) and heterotrophic (such as nitrate/sulfate reduction and hydrocarbon consumption) metabolism. For each metabolic type, there are several key genes encoding the reaction enzymes, which can be identified by metagenomics analysis. Based on this principle, in an abnormally low dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) petroleum-contaminated aquifer in North China, nine groundwater samples were collected along the groundwater flow, and metagenomics analysis was used to discover biodegradation related metabolism by key genes. The major new finding is that autotrophic metabolism was revealed, and, more usefully, we attempt to explain the reasons for abnormally low DIC. The results show that the methanogenesis gene, Mcr, was undetected but more carbon fixation genes than nitrate reduction and sulfate genes were found. This suggests that there may be a considerable number of autotrophic microorganisms that cause the phenomenon of low concentration of dissolved inorganic carbon in contaminated areas. The metagenomics data also revealed that most heterotrophic, sulfate, and nitrate reduction genes in the aquifer were assimilatory sulfate and dissimilatory nitrate reduction genes. Although there was limited dissolved oxygen, aerobic degrading genes AlkB and Cdo were more abundant than anaerobic degrading genes AssA and BssA. The metagenomics information can enrich our microorganic knowledge about petroleum-contaminated aquifers and provide basic data for further bioremediation.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Over three-fifths of the world's known crude oil cannot be recovered using state-of-the-art techniques, but microbial conversion of petroleum hydrocarbons trapped in oil reservoirs to methane is one promising path to increase the recovery of fossil fuels. The process requires cooperation between syntrophic bacteria and methanogenic archaea, which can be affected by sulfate-reducing prokaryotes (SRPs). However, the effects of sulfate on hydrocarbon degradation and methane production remain elusive, and the microbial communities involved are not well understood. RESULTS:In this study, a methanogenic hexadecane-degrading enrichment culture was treated with six different concentrations of sulfate ranging from 0.5 to 25 mM. Methane production and maximum specific methane production rate gradually decreased to 44 and 56% with sulfate concentrations up to 25 mM, respectively. There was a significant positive linear correlation between the sulfate reduction/methane production ratio and initial sulfate concentration, which remained constant during the methane production phase. The apparent methanogenesis fractionation factor (?app) gradually increased during the methane production phase in each treatment, the ?app for the treatments with lower sulfate (0.5-4 mM) eventually plateaued at ~1.047, but that for the treatment with 10-25 mM sulfate only reached ~1.029. The relative abundance levels of Smithella and Methanoculleus increased almost in parallel with the increasing sulfate concentrations. Furthermore, the predominant sulfate reducer communities shifted from Desulfobacteraceae in the low-sulfate cultures to Desulfomonile in the high-sulfate cultures. CONCLUSION:The distribution of hexadecane carbon between methane-producing and sulfate-reducing populations is dependent on the initial sulfate added, and not affected during the methane production period. There was a relative increase in hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis activity over time for all sulfate treatments, whereas the total activity was inhibited by sulfate addition. Both Smithella and Methanoculleus, the key alkane degraders and methane producers, can adapt to sulfate stress. Specifically, different SRP populations were stimulated at various sulfate concentrations. These results could help to evaluate interactions between sulfate-reducing and methanogenic populations during anaerobic hydrocarbon degradation in oil reservoirs.
Project description:Anaerobic microbial hydrocarbon degradation is a major biogeochemical process at marine seeps. Here we studied the response of the microbial community to petroleum seepage simulated for 190 days in a sediment core from the Caspian Sea using a sediment-oil-flow-through (SOFT) system. Untreated (without simulated petroleum seepage) and SOFT sediment microbial communities shared 43% bacterial genus-level 16S rRNA-based operational taxonomic units (OTU0.945) but shared only 23% archaeal OTU0.945. The community differed significantly between sediment layers. The detection of fourfold higher deltaproteobacterial cell numbers in SOFT than in untreated sediment at depths characterized by highest sulfate reduction rates and strongest decrease of gaseous and mid-chain alkane concentrations indicated a specific response of hydrocarbon-degrading Deltaproteobacteria. Based on an increase in specific CARD-FISH cell numbers, we suggest the following groups of sulfate-reducing bacteria to be likely responsible for the observed decrease in aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbon concentration in SOFT sediments: clade SCA1 for propane and butane degradation, clade LCA2 for mid- to long-chain alkane degradation, clade Cyhx for cycloalkanes, pentane and hexane degradation, and relatives of Desulfobacula for toluene degradation. Highest numbers of archaea of the genus Methanosarcina were found in the methanogenic zone of the SOFT core where we detected preferential degradation of long-chain hydrocarbons. Sequencing of masD, a marker gene for alkane degradation encoding (1-methylalkyl)succinate synthase, revealed a low diversity in SOFT sediment with two abundant species-level MasD OTU0.96.
Project description:In this work, a mathematical model based on growth kinetics of microorganisms and substrates transportation through biofilms was developed to describe methane production and sulfate reduction with ethanol being a key electron donor. The model was calibrated and validated using experimental data from two case studies conducted in granule-based Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket reactors. The results suggest that the developed model could satisfactorily describe methane and sulfide productions as well as ethanol and sulfate removals in both systems. The modeling results reveal a stratified distribution of methanogenic archaea, sulfate-reducing bacteria and fermentative bacteria in the anaerobic granular sludge and the relative abundances of these microorganisms vary with substrate concentrations. It also indicates sulfate-reducing bacteria can successfully outcompete fermentative bacteria for ethanol utilization when COD/SO<sub>4</sub><sup>2-</sup> ratio reaches 0.5. Model simulation suggests that an optimal granule diameter for the maximum methane production efficiency can be achieved while the sulfate reduction efficiency is not significantly affected by variation in granule size. It also indicates that the methane production and sulfate reduction can be affected by ethanol and sulfate loading rates, and the microbial community development stage in the reactor, which provided comprehensive insights into the system for its practical operation.
Project description:The microbial community response to petroleum seepage was investigated in a whole round sediment core (16 cm length) collected nearby natural hydrocarbon seepage structures in the Caspian Sea, using a newly developed Sediment-Oil-Flow-Through (SOFT) system. Distinct redox zones established and migrated vertically in the core during the 190 days-long simulated petroleum seepage. Methanogenic petroleum degradation was indicated by an increase in methane concentration from 8 ?M in an untreated core compared to 2300 ?M in the lower sulfate-free zone of the SOFT core at the end of the experiment, accompanied by a respective decrease in the ?<sup>13</sup>C signal of methane from -33.7 to -49.5‰. The involvement of methanogens in petroleum degradation was further confirmed by methane production in enrichment cultures from SOFT sediment after the addition of hexadecane, methylnapthalene, toluene, and ethylbenzene. Petroleum degradation coupled to sulfate reduction was indicated by the increase of integrated sulfate reduction rates from 2.8 SO<sub>4</sub><sup>2-</sup>m<sup>-2</sup> day<sup>-1</sup> in untreated cores to 5.7 mmol SO<sub>4</sub><sup>2-</sup>m<sup>-2</sup> day<sup>-1</sup> in the SOFT core at the end of the experiment, accompanied by a respective accumulation of sulfide from 30 to 447 ?M. Volatile hydrocarbons (C2-C6 <i>n</i>-alkanes) passed through the methanogenic zone mostly unchanged and were depleted within the sulfate-reducing zone. The amount of heavier <i>n</i>-alkanes (C10-C38) decreased step-wise toward the top of the sediment core and a preferential degradation of shorter (<C14) and longer chain <i>n</i>-alkanes (>C30) was seen during the seepage. This study illustrates, to the best of our knowledge, for the first time the development of methanogenic petroleum degradation and the succession of benthic microbial processes during petroleum passage in a whole round sediment core.
Project description:A culture-independent molecular phylogenetic approach was used to survey constituents of microbial communities associated with an aquifer contaminated with hydrocarbons (mainly jet fuel) and chlorinated solvents undergoing intrinsic bioremediation. Samples were obtained from three redox zones: methanogenic, methanogenic-sulfate reducing, and iron or sulfate reducing. Small-subunit rRNA genes were amplified directly from aquifer material DNA by PCR with universally conserved or Bacteria- or Archaea-specific primers and were cloned. A total of 812 clones were screened by restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLP), approximately 50% of which were unique. All RFLP types that occurred more than once in the libraries, as well as many of the unique types, were sequenced. A total of 104 (94 bacterial and 10 archaeal) sequence types were determined. Of the 94 bacterial sequence types, 10 have no phylogenetic association with known taxonomic divisions and are phylogenetically grouped in six novel division level groups (candidate divisions WS1 to WS6); 21 belong to four recently described candidate divisions with no cultivated representatives (OP5, OP8, OP10, and OP11); and 63 are phylogenetically associated with 10 well-recognized divisions. The physiology of two particularly abundant sequence types obtained from the methanogenic zone could be inferred from their phylogenetic association with groups of microorganisms with a consistent phenotype. One of these sequence types is associated with the genus Syntrophus; Syntrophus spp. produce energy from the anaerobic oxidation of organic acids, with the production of acetate and hydrogen. The organism represented by the other sequence type is closely related to Methanosaeta spp., which are known to be capable of energy generation only through aceticlastic methanogenesis. We hypothesize, therefore, that the terminal step of hydrocarbon degradation in the methanogenic zone of the aquifer is aceticlastic methanogenesis and that the microorganisms represented by these two sequence types occur in syntrophic association.
Project description:Huge amount of aged oily sludge was generated during the drilling and transportation of crude oil. Sometimes, the sludge exhibited characters of combined pollution, such as saline-alkali oily sludge. Orthogonal experiments of L16(45) were conducted to evaluate the long-term effects of total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) concentration, microbial agents (Oil Gator and ZL) and bulking agents (peat and wheat bran) on the biodegradation of aged saline-alkali oily sludge. Compared with the control group, the significant improvement in the removal rate of TPH was exhibited with the addition of microbial agents and bulking agents after 231 days of the experimental period. Based on the values of mean range (R), it was revealed that the predominant influencing factor of the bioremediation was TPH concentration. After biostimulation and bioaugmentation, the quantity of petroleum hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria in the oily sludge increased by 2-4 orders of magnitude. Furthermore, the bioremediation improved the microbial diversity based on the analysis of PCR-DGGE. It was inferred that the addition of microbial agents and bulking agents reconstructed the microbial ecological niche. The principal component analysis indicated that the differentiation of the microbial community was generated by the biostimulation and bioaugmentation in comparison with the control samples.
Project description:Obtaining a reliable estimation of the methane potential of organic waste streams in anaerobic digestion, for which a biochemical methane potential (BMP) test is often used, is of high importance. Standardization of this BMP test is required to ensure inter-laboratory repeatability and accuracy of the BMP results. Therefore, guidelines were set out; yet, these do not provide sufficient information concerning origin of and the microbial community in the test inoculum. Here, the specific contribution of the methanogenic community on the BMP test results was evaluated. The biomethane potential of four different substrates (molasses, bio-refinery waste, liquid manure and high-rate activated sludge) was determined by means of four different inocula from full-scale anaerobic digestion plants. A significant effect of the selected inoculum on the BMP result was observed for two out of four substrates. This inoculum effect could be attributed to the abundance of methanogens and a potential inhibiting effect in the inoculum itself, demonstrating the importance of inoculum selection for BMP testing. We recommend the application of granular sludge as an inoculum, because of its higher methanogenic abundance and activity, and protection from bulk solutions, compared with other inocula.
Project description:Two yeast strains are enriched and isolated from industrial refinery wastewater. These strains were observed for their ability to utilize several classes of petroleum hydrocarbons substrates, such as n-alkanes and aromatic hydrocarbons as a sole carbon source. Phylogenetic analysis based on the D1/D2 variable domain and the ITS-region sequences indicated that strains HC1 and HC4 were members of the genera Candida and Trichosporon, respectively. The mechanism of hydrocarbon uptaking by yeast, Candida, and Trichosporon has been studied by means of the kinetic analysis of hydrocarbons-degrading yeasts growth and substrate assimilation. Biodegradation capacity and biomass quantity were daily measured during twelve days by gravimetric analysis and gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry techniques. Removal of n-alkanes indicated a strong ability of hydrocarbon biodegradation by the isolated yeast strains. These two strains grew on long-chain n-alkane, diesel oil, and crude oil but failed to grow on short-chain n-alkane and aromatic hydrocarbons. Growth measurement attributes of the isolates, using n-hexadecane, diesel oil, and crude oil as substrates, showed that strain HC1 had better degradation for hydrocarbon substrates than strain HC4. In conclusion, these yeast strains can be useful for the bioremediation process and decreasing petroleum pollution in wastewater contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons.