Caister Academic Press

Molecular Microbiological Methods Applied to Microbial Methane Production in Oil Reservoirs, Coal Beds, and Shales

Lisa M. Gieg and Karen Budwill
from: Applications of Molecular Microbiological Methods (Edited by: Torben L. Skovhus, Sean M. Caffrey and Casey R.J. Hubert). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2014)


Research in recent decades has revealed that microbial communities thrive in subsurface fossil energy deposits such as crude oil, coal, and shale reservoirs. While numerous microbes have been cultivated from such environments, molecular microbiology methods (MMM) such as 16S rRNA gene sequencing has revealed an even broader microbial diversity that includes organisms associated with aerobic, anaerobic, and fermentative metabolic abilities. Other MMM, such as functional gene analysis and metagenomics, are starting to be applied to samples from subsurface fossil energy environments to more fully describe or predict the functions associated with the extant microbes. Such information can help inform the development of sustainable energy recovery technologies by stimulating in situ biomethane production. In this chapter, we briefly overview the key features of crude oil reservoirs, coal seams, and shale deposits that support methanogenic communities, the MMM that are being used to describe the associated microbial members and functions, and highlight two case studies as examples wherein MMM were used for microbial community analysis in fossil energy reservoirs read more ...
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