Control of microbial souring by nitrate, nitrite or glutaraldehyde injection in a sandstone column


Microbial souring (production of hydrogen sulfide by sulfate-reducing bacteria, SRB) in crushed Berea sandstone columns with oil field-produced water consortia incubated at 60°C was inhibited by the addition of nitrate (NO3) or nitrite (NO2−). Added nitrate (as nitrogen) at a concentration of 0.71 mM resulted in the production of 0.57–0.71 mM nitrite by the native microbial population present during souring and suppressed sulfate reduction to below detection limits. Nitrate added at 0.36 mM did not inhibit active souring but was enough to maintain inhibition if the column had been previously treated with 0.71 mM or greater. Continuous addition of 0.71–0.86 mM nitrite also completely inhibited souring in the column. Pulses of nitrite were more effective than the same amount of nitrite added continuously. Nitrite was more effective at inhibiting souring than was glutaraldehyde, and SRB recovery was delayed longer with nitrite than with glutaraldehyde. It was hypothesized that glutaraldehyde killed SRB while nitrite provided a long-term inhibition without cell death. Removal of nitrate after as long as 3 months of continuous addition allowed SRB in a biofilm to return to their previous level of activity. Inhibition was achieved with much lower levels of nitrate and nitrite, and at higher temperatures, than noted by other researchers.




Reinsel, M.A., J.T. Sears, P.S. Stewart, and M.J. McInerney, "Control of Microbial Souring by Nitrate, Nitrite or Glutaraldehyde Injection in a Sandstone Column," Journal of Industrial Microbiology, 17:1128-136 (1996).
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