Frackenstein Returns – Insights on Microbes in Fracked M-U Wells

For the first time, scientists reconstructed the genetic material from microbes in shale formations (represented here) being drilled for natural gas – click for larger version

Last year MDN shared with you the news that researchers from Ohio State University analyzed the genomes of microorganisms (i.e. bacteria) that live in Utica Shale wells and found little communities of microscopic critters that live in those shale wells, including a brand new critter that lives only in fracked Utica Shale wells (see Frackenstein! Researchers Find New Life Form in Fracked Utica Wells). The hypothesis is that fracking itself created this new mutated life form. The researchers call this new microorganism “Frackibacter” (pronounced frack-uh-back-tor). We call it Frackenstein! Who knew fracking didn’t destroy life, but actually creates it?! Not long after the original announcement, those same researchers, in poring over their data, discovered those tiny critters may actually INCREASE natural gas output from the well (see Frackenstein 2: Gassy Utica Critters May Increase Well Output!). Since that time the same researchers have continued to review their data and now have important insights to add: microbes from the surface get injected deep in the earth during the fracking process. And those microbes do a good job of adapting and surviving, even in an environment with a lot of chemicals and minerals. That adaptation means more methane is produced, but it also means more corrosion of pipes and equipment. The researchers hope scientists will use this information to produce better fracking fluids and equipment used to extract natural gas…

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