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Study of microbial interactions and functions in Brazilian oil reservoirs.

Grant number: 15/06991-4
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2015
Effective date (End): February 29, 2020
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Molecular Genetics and Genetics of Microorganisms
Principal Investigator:Valeria Maia Merzel
Grantee:Daiane Rodrigues Barbosa Belgini
Host Institution: Centro Pluridisciplinar de Pesquisas Químicas, Biológicas e Agrícolas (CPQBA). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Paulínia , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):16/24976-5 - Recovering genomes of oil-degrading microbes in petroleum reservoirs through multi-omics data analysis, BE.EP.DR


Petroleum is a complex mixture of hydrocarbons and other organic compounds. Because of its economic and energetic significance, petroleum has become extremely essential to proper functioning of our society. The Brazilian petroleum has its own characteristics, with a predominance of heavy oils. This quality is related to microbial activity, as the micro-organisms in the oil can act in light hydrocarbon degradation by modifying the physicochemical characteristics of oil.Therefore, it becomes necessary to know the microbiology of Brazilian petroleum reservoirs, in order to create and improve the recovery strategies and the use of these oils. The classical microbiological methods, although important and routinely used, provide information about only 0.01 to 3% of micro-organisms present in natural environments.In this respect, the application of molecular biology methodologies to study microorganisms in natural environments without the need for prior isolation and cultivation has spread widely in recent decades. This project, therefore, suggests the use of independent cultivation techniques for the assessment of the microbiota composition and gene expression in samples of Brazilian petroleum reservoirs in order to understand the metabolic processes responsible for oil degradation, as well as the interactions between micro-organisms and their survival mechanisms in this harsh environment.

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