Characterization of an alkane-degrading methanogenic enrichment culture from production water of an oil reservoir after 274 days of incubation

Li Ying Wang, Cai Xia Gao, Serge Maurice Mbadinga, Lei Zhou, Jin Feng Liu, Ji Dong Gu, Bo Zhong Mu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


Oil reservoirs represent special habitats for the activity of anaerobic microbial communities in the transformation of organic compounds. To understand the function of microbial communities in oil reservoirs under anaerobic conditions, an alkane-degrading methanogenic enrichment culture was established and analyzed. Results showed that a net 538 μmol of methane higher than the controls were produced over 274 days of incubation in microcosms amended with alkanes and a decrease in the alkanes profile was also observed. Phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences retrieved from the enrichment microcosms indicated that the archaeal phylotypes were mostly related to members of the orders Methanobacteriales and Methanosarcinales. The bacterial clone library was composed of sequences affiliated with the Firmicutes, Proteobacteria, Deferribacteres, and Bacteroidetes. However, most of the bacterial clones retrieved from the enrichment cultures showed low similarity to 16S rRNA gene sequences of the cultured members, indicating that the enrichment cultures contained novel bacterial species. Though alkane-degrading methanogenic enrichment consortium has rarely been reported from petroleum reservoirs, our results indicated that oilfield production water harbors a microbial community capable of syntrophic conversion of n-alkanes to methane, which sheds light on the bio-utilization of marginal oil reservoirs for enhanced energy recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)444-450
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Biodeterioration and Biodegradation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Methanogenesis
  • Microbial community
  • N-alkanes
  • Oil reservoir
  • Production water


Dive into the research topics of 'Characterization of an alkane-degrading methanogenic enrichment culture from production water of an oil reservoir after 274 days of incubation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this