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Microbial community structure in deep natural gas-bearing aquifers subjected to sulfate-containing fluid injection

Katayama, Taiki, Yoshioka, Hideyoshi, Yamanaka, Toshiro, Takeuchi, Mio, Muramoto, Yoshiyuki, Usami, Jun, Ikeda, Hidefumi, Sakata, Susumu
Journal of bioscience and bioengineering 2019 v.127 no.1 pp. 45-51
Archaea, aquifers, chemical analysis, community structure, corrosion, enzymes, epsilon-Proteobacteria, genes, hydrogen sulfide, iodine, methanotrophs, microbial communities, natural gas, nitrates, nitrites, oxygen, ribosomal RNA, sequence analysis, sulfate-reducing bacteria, sulfates, sulfites, sulfur, wells, Japan
In the natural gas field located in central Japan, high concentrations of natural gases and iodide ions are dissolved in formation water and commercially produced in deep aquifers. In the iodine recovery process, the produced formation water is amended with sulfate, and this fluid is injected into gas-bearing aquifers, which may lead to infrastructure corrosion by hydrogen sulfide. In this study, we examined the microbial community in aquifers subjected to sulfate-containing fluid injection. Formation water samples were collected from production wells located at different distances from the injection wells. The chemical analysis showed that the injection fluid contained oxygen, nitrate, nitrite and sulfate, in contrast to the formation water, which had previously been shown to be depleted in these components. Sulfur isotopic analysis indicated that sulfate derived from the injection fluid was present in the sample collected from near the injection wells. Quantitative and sequencing analysis of dissimilatory sulfite reductase and 16S rRNA genes revealed that sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB), sulfur-oxidizing bacteria, and anaerobic methanotrophic archaea (ANME) in the wells located near injection wells were more abundant than those in wells located far from the injection wells, suggesting that fluid injection stimulated these microorganisms through the addition of oxygen, nitrate, nitrite and sulfate to the methane-rich aquifers. The predominant taxa were assigned to the ANME-2 group, its sulfate-reducing partner SEEP-SRB1 cluster and sulfur-oxidizing Epsilonproteobacteria. These results provide important insights for future studies to support the development of natural gas and iodine resources in Japan.