Iron oxides alter methanogenic pathways of acetate in production water of high-temperature petroleum reservoir

Pan Pan, Bo Hong, Serge Maurice Mbadinga, Li Ying Wang, Jin Feng Liu, Shi Zhong Yang, Ji Dong Gu, Bo Zhong Mu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Acetate is a key intermediate in anaerobic crude oil biodegradation and also a precursor for methanogenesis in petroleum reservoirs. The impact of iron oxides, viz. β-FeOOH (akaganéite) and magnetite (Fe3O4), on the methanogenic acetate metabolism in production water of a high-temperature petroleum reservoir was investigated. Methane production was observed in all the treatments amended with acetate. In the microcosms amended with acetate solely about 30% of the acetate utilized was converted to methane, whereas methane production was stimulated in the presence of magnetite (Fe3O4) resulting in a 48.34% conversion to methane. Methane production in acetate-amended, β-FeOOH (akaganéite)-supplemented microcosms was much faster and acetate consumption was greatly improved compared to the other conditions in which the stoichiometric expected amounts of methane were not produced. Microbial community analysis showed that Thermacetogenium spp. (known syntrophic acetate oxidizers) and hydrogenotrophic methanogens closely related to Methanothermobacter spp. were enriched in acetate and acetate/magnetite (Fe3O4) microcosms suggesting that methanogenic acetate metabolism was through hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis fueled by syntrophic acetate oxidizers. The acetate/β-FeOOH (akaganéite) microcosms, however, differed by the dominance of archaea closely related to the acetoclastic Methanosaeta thermophila. These observations suggest that supplementation of β-FeOOH (akaganéite) accelerated the production of methane further, driven the alteration of the methanogenic community, and changed the pathway of acetate methanogenesis from hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis fueled by syntrophic acetate oxidizers to acetoclastic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7053-7063
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number18
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Acetate
  • Iron oxide
  • Methanogenesis
  • Petroleum reservoir
  • Syntrophic acetate oxidation


Dive into the research topics of 'Iron oxides alter methanogenic pathways of acetate in production water of high-temperature petroleum reservoir'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this