Methanogenic microbial community is responsive to the availability of hydrocarbons and such information is critical for the assessment of hydrocarbon degradation in remediation and also in biologically enhanced recovery of energy from non-producing oil reserves. In this study, methanogenic enrichment cultures from oily sludge amended with n-alkanes (C15-C20) showed a development of active methanogenic alkanes-degrading consortium for over a total of 1000 days of incubation at 37°C. Total genomic DNAs were extracted from three types of samples, the original oily sludge (OS), the sludge after incubation for 500 days under methanogenic condition without any external carbon addition (EC), and the enrichment culture from the EC amended with n-alkanes (ET) incubated for another 500 days. The phylogenetic diversities of microbial communities of the three samples were analyzed by PCR amplification of partial 16S rRNA genes. The catabolic genes encoding benzylsuccinate synthase (bssA) and alkylsuccinate synthase (assA) were also examined by PCR amplification. These results provide important evidence in that microbial populations in an oily sludge shifted from methanogenic aromatic compounds degrading communities to potential methanogenic alkane-degrading communities when the enrichment was supplemented with n-alkanes and incubated under anaerobic conditions.
- microbial community
- oily sludge