Microbial oil degradation under methanogenic conditions

Angela Sherry, Neil D. Gray, Carolyn M. Aitken, Jan Dolfing

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


A useful strategy for the study of microbially mediated processes such as the methanogenic degradation of oil is the use of experimental microcosm enrichments inoculated from near-surface hydrocarbon degrading systems or from samples obtained from petroleum reservoirs. This approach broadly preserves the complexity of in situ environments (at least at a scale relevant to microbial consortia), can be constructed to replicate in situ conditions e.g., temperature, pressure, salinity and pH, and allows community analysis through the application of culture independent techniques. Here we present a number of experimental procedures which can be routinely applied for the systematic and multidisciplinary investigation of microbial mediated anaerobic processes using enrichment microcosms. We provide an overview of the molecular techniques used to investigate changes in microbial community structure, the methods used to sample and setup anaerobic enrichment cultures and describe how these studies can be integrated into a wider investigation of methanogenic degradation of hydrocarbons.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Hydrocarbon and Lipid Microbiology
EditorsKenneth N. Timmis, Terry J. McGenity, Jan Roelof van der Meer, Victor de Lorenzo
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9783540775881
ISBN (Print)9783540775843
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


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