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1.  Cultivation-independent methods applied to the microbial prospection of oil and gas in soil from a sedimentary basin in Brazil 
AMB Express  2011;1:35.
The upper parts of oil field structures may leak gas which is supposed to be indirectly detected by the soil bacterial populations. Such microorganisms are capable of consuming this gas, supporting the Microbial Prospection of Oil and Gas (MPOG) methodology. The goal of the present work was to characterize microbial communities involved in short-chain alkane metabolism, namely methane, ethane and propane, in samples from a petroliferous (P) soil through clone libraries of the 16S rRNA gene of the Domains Bacteria and Archaea and the catabolic gene coding for the soluble di-iron monooxygenase (SDIMO) enzyme alpha subunit. The microbial community presented high abundance of the bacterial phylum Actinobacteria, which represented 53% of total clones, and the Crenarchaeota group I.1b from the Archaea Domain. The analysis of the catabolic genes revealed the occurrence of seven Operational Protein Families (OPF) and higher richness (Chao = 7; Ace = 7.5) and diversity (Shannon = 1.09) in P soil when compared with a non-petroliferous (Np) soil (Chao = 2; Ace = 0, Shannon = 0.44). Clones related to the ethene monooxygenase (EtnC) and methane monooxygenase (MmoX) coding genes occurred only in P soil, which also presented higher levels of methane and lower levels of ethane and propane, revealed by short-chain hydrocarbon measures. Real-time PCR results suggested that the SDIMO genes occur in very low abundance in the soil samples under study. Further investigations on SDIMOs genes in natural environments are necessary to unravel their still uncharted diversity and to provide reliable tools for the prospection of degrading populations.
doi:10.1186/2191-0855-1-35
PMCID: PMC3282667  PMID: 22018208
Short-chain hydrocarbons; Microbial prospection; Community structure; Gene libraries; Soluble di-iron monooxygenases

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