National Research Council of Canada. Aquatic and Crop Resource Development
Bacteria live in oil reservoirs and eat the oil. Some of them are known to produce surface active molecules (biosurfactants), which act as detergents. Biosurfactants may help produce more oil through breaking globs of oil trapped in rock pores into small droplets, which can be driven out of an oil reservoir with either water flood or gas flood. Not all microbes that live in a reservoir can produce biosurfactants, and the challenge is to find those that can produce them and to stimulate their growth. We analyzed DNA extracted from oil field samples provided by our industrial partner and found that some DNA sequences belonged to Pseudomonas and Bacillus species, which were previously shown to produce biosurfactants.