Research Area: Environment

Subsurface metagenomics, functional microbial diversity analysis and gene discovery in deep and hot petroleum reservoirs

Project Number: 6504
Project Duration: 15. April 2009 - 14. April 2012

Project Director: Nils Kåre Birkeland, University of Bergen
Division Head: Hans Kristian Kotlar


This project belongs to VISTA's previous research area Biotechnology

Deep petroleum reservoirs represent an extreme microbial environment shown to harbour a diversity of anaerobic and thermophilic bacteria and archaea from a variety of physiological groups. Knowledge about the main ecological functioning of these ecosystems in terms of life-sustaining biogeochemical processes is, however, still limited, and the vast majority of the organisms believed to be indigenous to deep petroleum formations have still not been cultivated and characterized.   

The main objectives of the current project are to obtain a better understanding of the diversity, genetics and physiology of these extremophilic microorganisms as well as to explore their possible biotechnological potential. The utilization of various electron donors and electron acceptors will be studied in combination with phylogenetic analyses using 16S rRNA gene sequences to link physiological properties to phylogenetic affiliations. The use of metagenomic approaches to investigate the genomic properties without prior culturing is also being applied, and selected isolates are being subjected to genome sequence analysis. 

Scholar: Jeffrey Thomas Keen

E-mail: Jeffrey.Keen@bio.uib.no
University of Oslo

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