Global Consequences of Ubiquitous Hydrocarbon Utilizers

Reference work entry
Part of the Handbook of Hydrocarbon and Lipid Microbiology book series (HHLM)


Hydrocarbon-degrading organisms are found throughout the biosphere – from the poles to the tropics, from the depths of the sea to the upper atmosphere, and from the deepest mines to mountaintops. Some are opportunistic – able to degrade hydrocarbons but also other substrates – while others appear to have specialized on hydrocarbons to the exclusion of other foods. They impinge on human activities in many ways – they remove seeped and spilled hydrocarbons from water and soil and also from wastewater and commercially contaminated air. But they also consume hydrocarbons in reservoirs, fuel, and lubricant tanks with important deleterious effects, and they are implicated in the “souring” of hydrocarbon reservoirs and in the corrosion of oil pipelines. Our challenge is to encourage the former and discourage the latter – both offering opportunities to improve on current practice as we understand the responsible organisms more thoroughly.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Stonybrook ApiaryPittstownUSA

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