Indigenous Microbes from Two Oil Sands Tailings Ponds Methanogenic Biodegradation of iso-AlkanesAuthor(s): Amelia Williams
Alkanes are among the least chemically reactive organic molecules and are commonly found in crude oils and petroleum products. Despite their inert nature, alkanes have been used by microorganisms as sole carbon and energy sources in aerobic environments for over a century. Microbial metabolism of alkanes in anaerobic conditions, on the other hand, has only been proved conclusively in the last three decades, and has primarily concentrated on n-alkanes. Because of their relative recalcitrance compared to n-alkanes, reports of anaerobic biodegradation of iso- and cycloalkanes are currently limited. Under anaerobic conditions, biodegradation of iso- and cycloalkanes takes substantially longer than under aerobic conditions, where degradation happens within a few days of incubation. Nonetheless, research into the biodegradability of iso- and cycloalkanes under anaerobic conditions is crucial because these isomers are important oil components that can have an environmental impact.