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Carbon capture and storage technologies are crucial for reducing carbon emission from power plants as a response to global climate change. The CarbFix project (Iceland) aims at examining the geochemical response of injected CO2 into subsurface reservoirs. The potential role of the subsurface biosphere has been little investigated up to now. Here, we used Thiobacillus thioparus that became abundant at the CarbFix1 pilot site after injection of CO2 and purified geothermal gases in basaltic aquifer at 400-800 m depth (4-8 MPa). The capacity of T. thioparus to produce sulfate, through oxidation of thiosulfate, was measured by Raman spectroscopy as a function of pressure up to 10 MPa. The results show that the growth and metabolic activity of T. thioparus are influenced by the initial concentration of the electron donor thiosulfate. It grows best at low initial concentration of thiosulfate (here 5 g.l-1 or 31.6 mM) and best oxidizes thiosulfate into sulfate at 0.1 MPa with a yield of 14.7 ± 0.5%. Sulfur oxidation stops at 4.3 ± 0.1 MPa (43 bar). This autotrophic specie can thereby react to CO2 and H2 S injection down to 430 m depth and may contribute to induced biogeochemical cycles during subsurface energy operations. © 2021 The Authors. Environmental Microbiology Reports published by Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Jorge R Osman, Hervé Cardon, Gilles Montagnac, Aude Picard, Isabelle Daniel. Pressure effects on sulfur-oxidizing activity of Thiobacillus thioparus. Environmental microbiology reports. 2021 Apr;13(2):169-175

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PMID: 33421329

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