There is currently a considerable interest in characterising extreme environments, since they offer the opportunity to envision practical applications and to understand microbial diversity as an adaptive response that reflects environmental diversity. It is now well recognized that microorganisms thrive in extreme conditions such as contaminated soils/sediments and the pressurised depth of the Earth. Morphological, physiological, biochemical and genetic adaptations to extreme environments by these microorganisms have generated immense interest amongst scientists who continuously discover new occurrences and modes of microbial life on Earth. In this thesis, biogeochemical processes are investigated in two different extreme environments. (i) The deep biosphere, with a focus on shale gas basin and coal-bed methane (CBM). These environments are currently gaining momentum across the scientific community for the production of gaseous fuel. (i) [sic] Coal tar-contaminated soil and concentrated organic-phase coal tar, which was studied for bioremediation purposes. The core of this thesis consists of three articles dedicated to combination of different molecular and chromatographic methods of experimentation, analysis and interpretation. These include molecular tools such as DNA extraction techniques, PCR, 454-pyrosequencing and culturing-based approaches. The chemical experiments were metabolomic and isotopic chromatographic analyses. This study presented an extensive review of the biogeochemistry of unconventional gas systems, which provide an improved level of information of such environments. A robust culture-independent methodology was developed for the characterisation of microbial life in extreme environments, which was applied to describe, for the first time, the presence of bacteria in concentrated organic-phase coal tar. The deep sequencing methods were then used in combination with multidimensional compound specific isotope analysis (CSIA) to investigate community structure. The combined approach of deep sequencing methods with multidimensional CSIA was confirmed by statistics. Thus, high-throughput 16S rRNA gene sequencing and multidimentional CSIA, can be applied to investigate microbial community structure in extreme environments.
|Date of Award||1 May 2016|
- University Of Strathclyde
|Sponsors||Parsons Brinkerhoff & University of Strathclyde|
|Supervisor||Robert Kalin (Supervisor) & Richard Lord (Supervisor)|