, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 211–229 | Cite as

Microbial diversity in degraded and non-degraded petroleum samples and comparison across oil reservoirs at local and global scales

  • Isabel Natalia Sierra-GarciaEmail author
  • Bruna M. Dellagnezze
  • Viviane P. Santos
  • Michel R. Chaves B
  • Ramsés Capilla
  • Eugenio V. Santos Neto
  • Neil Gray
  • Valeria M. Oliveira
Original Paper


Microorganisms have shown their ability to colonize extreme environments including deep subsurface petroleum reservoirs. Physicochemical parameters may vary greatly among petroleum reservoirs worldwide and so do the microbial communities inhabiting these different environments. The present work aimed at the characterization of the microbiota in biodegraded and non-degraded petroleum samples from three Brazilian reservoirs and the comparison of microbial community diversity across oil reservoirs at local and global scales using 16S rRNA clone libraries. The analysis of 620 16S rRNA bacterial and archaeal sequences obtained from Brazilian oil samples revealed 42 bacterial OTUs and 21 archaeal OTUs. The bacterial community from the degraded oil was more diverse than the non-degraded samples. Non-degraded oil samples were overwhelmingly dominated by gammaproteobacterial sequences with a predominance of the genera Marinobacter and Marinobacterium. Comparisons of microbial diversity among oil reservoirs worldwide suggested an apparent correlation of prokaryotic communities with reservoir temperature and depth and no influence of geographic distance among reservoirs. The detailed analysis of the phylogenetic diversity across reservoirs allowed us to define a core microbiome encompassing three bacterial classes (Gammaproteobacteria, Clostridia, and Bacteroidia) and one archaeal class (Methanomicrobia) ubiquitous in petroleum reservoirs and presumably owning the abilities to sustain life in these environments.


Microbial diversity Petroleum reservoirs Oil Degradation 



We are thankful to Prof. Anita Marsaioli for scientific contribution regarding the hydrocarbon composition of the oil samples.

Compliance with ethical standards


This work was supported by the São Paulo Research Foundation, FAPESP (Process No. 2011/14501-6).

Conflict of interest

All authors agree with the publication of the work and declare that there are no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

792_2016_897_MOESM1_ESM.docx (27 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 26 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isabel Natalia Sierra-Garcia
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  • Bruna M. Dellagnezze
    • 1
  • Viviane P. Santos
    • 1
  • Michel R. Chaves B
    • 2
  • Ramsés Capilla
    • 3
  • Eugenio V. Santos Neto
    • 3
  • Neil Gray
    • 4
  • Valeria M. Oliveira
    • 1
  1. 1.Microbial Resources Division, Research Center for Chemistry, Biology and Agriculture (CPQBA)University of Campinas, UNICAMPCampinasBrazil
  2. 2.Institute of ChemistryUniversity of CampinasCampinasBrazil
  3. 3.PETROBRAS/R&D CenterRio de JaneiroBrazil
  4. 4.School of Civil Engineering and GeosciencesNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK

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