Research Area: Improved recovery

Developing proteomics and metaproteomics as tools for increased oil recovery

Project Number: 6502
Project Duration: 1. mai 2009 - 30. april 2013

Project Director: Svein Valla, NTNU
Division Head: Hans Kristian Kotlar


This project belongs to VISTA's previous research area Biotechnology

The purpose of this study is to perform a proteomic investigation of heavy oil-degrading microorganisms in an effort to increase our understanding of microbial degradation pathways for heavy crude oils. Enzymes (or enzyme-systems) utilized by these microorganisms during bioconversion could potentially be used by introducing microorganisms or cell-free enzyme systems into reservoirs (in situ) or in bioreactors as part of the refinement of the oil before further processing. This calls for a deeper understanding at the molecular level how these microbial communities are capable of utilizing the hydrocarbons of heavy oils as their main source of energy. Laboratory experiments have shown that certain microbial communities are capable of converting heavy oils. By mapping the complex mixture of proteins (here referred to as the metaproteome) extracted from heavy oils inoculated with different microorganism communities one can start pinpointing the enzymes and other proteins involved in the bioconversion process. Development of robust extraction methods has given us the opportunity to separate and analyse metaproteomes from microorganism consortia by using Difference In Gel Electrophoresis (DIGE). The method has revealed different protein-accumulation patterns during bioconversion and several potentially interesting proteins have been identified.

Scholar: Trygve Devold Kjellsen

E-mail: TDKJ@statoil.com

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