In an upcoming journal article, ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company reports on a new qPCR assay developed in collaboration with Microbial Insights. The assay targets a novel [NiFe] hydrogenase gene (micH) found in some methanogenic archaea.
While methanogens have long been implicated in microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC) of carbon steel, their overall abundance does not always correlate to the severity of MIC in pipelines. In the current study, the micH gene was routinely detected in highly corrosive (> 0.15 mm Fe0/yr) biofilms but was not detected in non-corrosive biofilms (< 0.08 mm mm Fe0/yr) despite abundant populations of methanogens in both sample groups. Thus, the qPCR assay successfully distinguished highly corrosive from relatively benign methanogens – a crucial step toward a better mechanistic understanding of biocorrosion in oil fields and more effective MIC management programs.
These targets are now a part of our QuantArray MIC analysis and are commercially available.