Secondary Microbial Gas

  • Alexei V. Milkov
Living reference work entry
Part of the Handbook of Hydrocarbon and Lipid Microbiology book series (HHLM)


Secondary microbial gas is produced by microbes during biodegradation of petroleum. Methane is the terminal product of petroleum biodegradation and is the dominant hydrocarbon component of secondary microbial gas. Secondary microbial gas is often mixed with thermogenic gas and primary microbial gas in shallow biodegraded petroleum accumulations and in petroleum seeps, and an integrated geochemical–geological approach is needed to recognize its presence. Significant 13C-enrichment of associated CO213C > +2‰) is perhaps the best geochemical indicator of secondary microbial gas. Recent assessments suggest that secondary microbial gas may be more abundant in petroleum accumulations than primary microbial gas.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geology and Geological EngineeringColorado School of MinesGoldenUSA

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