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Carbon dioxide concentration dictates alternative methanogenic pathways in oil reservoirs

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jan Dolfing



Deep subsurface formations (for example, high-temperature oil reservoirs) are candidate sites for carbon capture and storage technology. However, very little is known about how the subsurface microbial community would respond to an increase in CO2 pressure resulting from carbon capture and storage. Here we construct microcosms mimicking reservoir conditions (55 °C, 5 MPa) using high-temperature oil reservoir samples. Methanogenesis occurs under both high and low CO2 conditions in the microcosms. However, the increase in CO2 pressure accelerates the rate of methanogenesis to more than twice than that under low CO2 conditions. Isotope tracer and molecular analyses show that high CO2 conditions invoke acetoclastic methanogenesis in place of syntrophic acetate oxidation coupled with hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis that typically occurs in this environment (low CO2 conditions). Our results present a possibility of carbon capture and storage for enhanced microbial energy production in deep subsurface environments that can mitigate global warming and energy depletion.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mayumi D, Dolfing J, Sakata S, Maeda H, Miyagawa Y, Ikarashi M, Tamali H, Takeuchi M, Nakatsu CH, Kamagata Y

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nature Communications

Year: 2013

Volume: 4

Print publication date: 13/06/2013

Date deposited: 29/11/2013

ISSN (electronic): 2041-1723

Publisher: Macmillan Publishers Limited


DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2998

PubMed id: 23759740


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