A novel bacterium strain was isolated from a petroleum reservoir stored for 33 years without transfers to fresh medium


In 2020, the SciBear team together with Russian and Azerbaijani scientists presented to the scientific community a curious work - pangenome analysis reveal a new bacterium in the samples stored for 33 years in laboratory. A gram-positive, rod-shaped, anaerobic fermentative bacterium was characterizing as a novel species of the genus Soehngenia.

In 1977, in the course of ecological investigation of microbial communities of the Binagady petroleum reservoir (Republic of Azerbaijan), methanogenic enrichment cultures were obtained from production water samples. Since 1985, several flasks with the methanogenic enrichment growing on the medium with methanol have been stored at room temperature (18–24 °C) for 33 years without transfers to fresh medium in order to investigate survival of oilfield communities. In 2018, the enrichment was used to inoculate fresh medium with methanol, and methane production was registered in this culture. High-throughput sequencing of the V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene revealed members of the genera Desulfovibrio, Soehngenia, Thermovirga, Petrimonas, Methanosarcina, and Methanomethylovorans. A novel bacterium, strain 1933PT, was isolated from this enrichment and characterized. Genome analysis suggests that the new strain has potential in the degradation of proteinaceous components.

This study shows us that new approaches, such as pangenome analysis, allow us to reanalyze long-term storage samples and uncover previously inaccessible knowledge. hat mean great prospects which are opening up for us. A lot of work and numbers of discovery are waiting!

Microorganisms 20208(12), 1967;