Detectable from the oil tank to the deep sea
The Methanoliparia cells cultured for the present study originate from one of China’s largest oil fields, the Shengli oil field. However, genetic analyses show that these microbes are distributed all over the world, even down to the deep sea. “Our results hold an entirely new understanding of oil exploitation in subsurface oil reservoirs. Both the wide distribution of these organisms and the potential industrial applications make this an exciting field of research in the coming years,” Wegener concludes.
Reference: “Non-syntrophic methanogenic hydrocarbon degradation by an archaeal species” by Zhuo Zhou, Cui-jing Zhang, Peng-fei Liu, Lin Fu, Rafael Laso-Pérez, Lu Yang, Li-ping Bai, Jiang Li, Min Yang, Jun-zhang Lin, Wei-dong Wang, Gunter Wegener, Meng Li and Lei Cheng, 22 December 2021, Nature.