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Laboratory evaluation of hyperthermophiles with the potential for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) is often hampered by the difficulties in replicating the in situ growth conditions in the laboratory. In the present investigation, genome analysis was used to gain insights into the metabolic potential of a hyperthermophile to mobilize the residual oil from depleting high-temperature oil reservoirs. Here, we report the 1.9 Mb draft genome sequence of a hyperthermophilic anaerobic archaeon, Thermococcus sp. 101C5, with a GC content of 44%, isolated from a high-temperature oil reservoir of Gujarat, India. 101C5 possessed the genetic arsenal required for adaptation to harsh oil reservoir conditions, such as various heat shock proteins for thermo-adaptation, Trk potassium uptake system proteins for osmo-adaptation, and superoxide reductases against oxidative stress. Microbial Enhanced Oil Recovery (MEOR) potential of the strain was established by ascertaining the presence of genes encoding enzymes involved in the production of the metabolites such as hydrogen, bio-emulsifier, acetate, exopolysaccharide, etc. Production of these metabolites which pressurize the reservoir, emulsify the crude oil, lower the viscosity and reduce the drag, thus facilitating mobilization of the residual oil was experimentally confirmed. Also, the presence of crude oil degradative genes highlighted the ability of the strain to mobilize heavy residual oil, which was confirmed under simulated conditions in sand-pack studies. The obtained results demonstrated additional oil recoveries of 42.1% and 56.5% at 96 °C and 101 °C, respectively, by the strain 101C5, illustrating its potential for application in high-temperature oil reservoirs. To our best knowledge, this is the first report of genome analysis of any microbe assessed for its suitability for MEOR from the high-temperature oil reservoir.© 2021. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.


Neelam G Kapse, Vasundhara Paliwal, Sumit Singh Dagar, Dolly Pal Rana, Prashant K Dhakephalkar. Genomics and simulated laboratory studies reveal Thermococcus sp. 101C5 as a novel hyperthermophilic archaeon possessing a specialized metabolic arsenal for enhanced oil recovery. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek. 2022 Jan;115(1):19-31

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PMID: 34734348

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