3 Biotech

, 9:79 | Cite as

Role of thermophilic bacteria (Bacillus and Geobacillus) on crude oil degradation and biocorrosion in oil reservoir environment

  • Punniyakotti Elumalai
  • Punniyakotti Parthipan
  • Jayaraman Narenkumar
  • Balakrishnan Anandakumar
  • Jagannathan Madhavan
  • Byung-Taek OhEmail author
  • Aruliah RajasekarEmail author
Original Article


Thermophilic bacterial communities generate thick biofilm on carbon steel API 5LX and produce extracellular metabolic products to accelerate the corrosion process in oil reservoirs. In the present study, nine thermophilic biocorrosive bacterial strains belonging to Bacillus and Geobacillus were isolated from the crude oil and produced water sample, and identified using 16S rRNA gene sequencing. The biodegradation efficiency of hydrocarbons was found to be high in the presence of bacterial isolates MN6 (82%), IR4 (94%) and IR2 (87%). During the biodegradation process, induction of the catabolic enzymes such as alkane hydroxylase, alcohol dehydrogenase and lipase were also examined in these isolates. Among them, the highest activity of alkane hydroxylase (130 µmol mg−1 protein) in IR4, alcohol dehydrogenase (70 µmol mg−1 protein) in IR2, and higher lipase activity in IR4 (60 µmol mg−1 protein) was observed. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction data showed that these isolates oxidize iron into ferrous/ferric oxides as the corrosion products on the carbon steel surface, whilst the crude oil hydrocarbon served as a sole carbon source for bacterial growth and development in such extreme environments.


Biocorrosion Biodegradation Carbon steel Oil reservoir Thermophilic bacteria 



This study was funded by Department of Biotechnology, Government of India (BT/RLF/Re-entry/17/2012), Science and Engineering Research Board, Department of Science and Technology (DST-SERB), Government of India (EEQ/2016/000449) and University Grants Commission (MRP-MAJOR-MICRO-2013-31825).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

13205_2019_1604_MOESM1_ESM.docx (579 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 578 KB)


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Copyright information

© King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Punniyakotti Elumalai
    • 1
  • Punniyakotti Parthipan
    • 2
  • Jayaraman Narenkumar
    • 3
  • Balakrishnan Anandakumar
    • 4
  • Jagannathan Madhavan
    • 5
  • Byung-Taek Oh
    • 1
    Email author
  • Aruliah Rajasekar
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Biotechnology, Advanced Institute of Environment and Biosciences, College of Environmental and Bioresource SciencesChonbuk National UniversityIksanSouth Korea
  2. 2.Electro-Materials Research Lab, Centre for Nanoscience and TechnologyPondicherry UniversityPuducherryIndia
  3. 3.Environmental Molecular Microbiology Research Laboratory, Department of BiotechnologyThiruvalluvar UniversityVelloreIndia
  4. 4.Corrosion Science and Technology GroupIndira Gandhi Centre for Atomic ResearchKalpakkamIndia
  5. 5.Solar Energy Laboratory, Department of ChemistryThiruvalluvar UniversityVelloreIndia

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