Munoz, Christine
Sackett, Cody L.
Kiyai-Bartlett, Juliet
Oil and gas operators use millions of barrels of water to drill, complete, and produce wells all around the world. In the United States, there are strict regulations that determine how water that is returned to the surface, produced water, is disposed. Produced water is contaminated with several compounds ranging from metals, salts, and hydrocarbons. Specifically, produced water contains the components of BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene). BTEXterminator, a co-culture of two strains of Psuedomonas putida, is capable of naturally degrading all of the components of BTEX. Each strain of P. putida is capable of degrading half of the components of BTEX through either the TOL or TOD pathway. Both strains of P. putida were genetically modified using a plasmid that contains the complementary pathway the strain does not naturally contain, thus increasing the efficiency of BTEX degradation. This product has been designed to be viable in the harsh environment of produced water. BTEXterminator can be cultivated via a cell suspension, which will be used in a reactor to treat produced water. Further research to determine the necessity of other genetic modification to allow for the viability in produced water will also be done.
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