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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2011 Aug;91(3):799-810. doi: 10.1007/s00253-011-3287-2. Epub 2011 May 3.

Microbial community succession in a bioreactor modeling a souring low-temperature oil reservoir subjected to nitrate injection.

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Petroleum Microbiology Research Group, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Calgary, 2500 University Dr. NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4, Canada.


Injection of up-flow packed-bed bioreactors with excess volatile fatty acids and limiting concentrations of nitrate and sulfate gave complete reduction of nitrate from 0 to 5.5 cm and complete or near-complete reduction of sulfate from 3.2 to 11.5 cm along the bioreactor flow path. Most of the biomass (85%) and most of the genes for nitrate reduction (narG, 96%; napA, 99%) and for sulfate reduction (dsrB, 91%) were present near the inlet (0-5.5 cm) of the 37-cm-long bioreactor. Microbial community analysis by a combination of denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA amplicons indicated that nitrate-reducing Arcobacter and Pseudomonas species were located from 0 to 3.2 cm and throughout, respectively. Desulfobulbus species were the main sulfate reducers present and acetotrophic methanogens of the genus Methanosaeta predominated at 20-37 cm. Overall, the results indicated a succession of microbial communities along the bioreactor flow path. In the absence of nitrate, the sulfate reduction zone moved nearer to the bioreactor inlet. The sulfide concentration in the bioreactor effluent was temporarily lowered after nitrate injection was re-started. Hence, the bioreactor sulfide output could be disrupted by pulsed, not by constant nitrate injection, as demonstrated also previously in a low-temperature oil field.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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