Carbon dioxide concentration dictates alternative methanogenic pathways in oil reservoirs

Daisuke Mayumi, Jan Dolfing, Susumu Sakata*, Haruo Maeda, Yoshihiro Miyagawa, Masayuki Ikarashi, Hideyuki Tamaki, Mio Takeuchi, Cindy H. Nakatsu, Yoichi Kamagata

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


Deep subsurface formations (for example, high-temperature oil reservoirs) are candidate sites for carbon capture and storage technology. However, very little is known about how the subsurface microbial community would respond to an increase in CO 2 pressure resulting from carbon capture and storage. Here we construct microcosms mimicking reservoir conditions (55C, 5 MPa) using high-temperature oil reservoir samples. Methanogenesis occurs under both high and low CO 2 conditions in the microcosms. However, the increase in CO 2 pressure accelerates the rate of methanogenesis to more than twice than that under low CO 2 conditions. Isotope tracer and molecular analyses show that high CO 2 conditions invoke acetoclastic methanogenesis in place of syntrophic acetate oxidation coupled with hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis that typically occurs in this environment (low CO 2 conditions). Our results present a possibility of carbon capture and storage for enhanced microbial energy production in deep subsurface environments that can mitigate global warming and energy depletion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1998
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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