Bacteria in the injection water differently impacts the bacterial communities of production wells in high-temperature petroleum reservoirs

Hongyan Ren, Shunzi Xiong, Guangjun Gao, Yongting Song, Gongze Cao, Liping Zhao, Xiaojun Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Water flooding is widely used for oil recovery. However, how the introduction of bacteria via water flooding affects the subsurface ecosystem remains unknown. In the present study, the distinct bacterial communities of an injection well and six adjacent production wells were revealed using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and pyrosequencing. All sequences of the variable region 3 of the 16S rRNA gene retrieved from pyrosequencing were divided into 543 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) based on 97% similarity. Approximately 13.5% of the total sequences could not be assigned to any recognized phylum. The Unifrac distance analysis showed significant differences in the bacterial community structures between the production well and injection water samples. However, highly similar bacterial structures were shown for samples obtained from the same oil-bearing strata. More than 69% of the OTUs detected in the injection water sample were absent or detected in low abundance in the production wells. However, the abundance of two OTUs reached as high as 17.5 and 26.9% in two samples of production water, although the OTUs greatly varied among all samples. Combined with the differentiated water flow rate measured through ion tracing, we speculated that the transportation of injected bacteria was impacted through the varied permeability from the injection well to each of the production wells. Whether the injected bacteria predominate the production well bacterial community might depend both on the permeability of the strata and the reservoir conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number505
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Issue numberMAY
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Microbiology


  • Bacterial community
  • Oil-bearing strata
  • Petroleum reservoir
  • Pyrosequencing
  • Water flooding


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