Methane Production in Oil Sands Tailings under Nitrogen-Depleted Conditions

  • Author / Creator
    Collins, Catherine Elizabeth Victoria
  • Surface mining for bitumen extraction results in production of tailings that are deposited into large ponds. Tailings in the ponds support diverse microbial communities capable of metabolizing organic compounds and producing biogenic gases (methane, CH4 and carbon dioxide, CO2). Because of low endogenous concentrations of bioavailable nitrogen (N), tailings ponds might be deficient in available N (NO3-/NH4+). This study examined the potential of N2-fixation mediated methanogenic degradation of citrate and petroleum hydrocarbons in oil sands tailings under N-depleted conditions. Anaerobic primary cultures were set up with available N or N-deficient medium under N2 headspace using mature fine tailings (MFT) and amended with citrate as a carbon source. Citrate was metabolized to CH4 under both N available and deficient conditions suggesting N2-fixation mediated degradation of citrate. Acetylene reduction assay and incorporation of 15N2 stable isotope into microbial biomass supported N2-fixation during citrate metabolism.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2013
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Specialization
    • Land Reclamation and Remediation
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Ulrich, Ania (Cival and Environmental Engineering)
    • Foght, Julia (Biological Sciences)