Micro Lab (S16) - BGS Geomicrobiology Laboratory

Facility Location
City & country
Keyworth (United Kingdom)
Nicker Hill, Keyworth, Nottingham NG12 5GG, Regno Unito
Description & contacts of the access provider
Legal name of organisation
BGS - British Geological Survey, Natural Environment Research Council
Infrastructure contact - Primary contact
Simon Gregory
RICC contact - Secondary contact
Keith Bateman
Facility Availability
Unit of access
Availability per year
2 weeks
Expected duration of single experiment:
2 weeks

A fully equipped Containment Level 2 microbiology laboratory is available with the capability of handling geological materials (core materials and groundwaters). The Facility specialises in evaluating the impacts of CO2 injection on deep subsurface indigenous microbial populations and the effects of those organisms on the movement of CO2, solutes and contaminants.

Equipment and techniques include:

  • Microaerophilic/Anaerobic Chamber – a variable atmosphere workstation to study O2 sensitive microbes.

  • Molecular microbiology equipment - for DNA extraction and amplification (PCR) for identification of microbial isolates and characterisation of microbial communities (Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis)

  • Deltatox analyser –for total viable biomass quantification using ATP analysis.

  • Microtox analyser – for the measurement of bio-toxicity in aquatic and solid phase samples

  • Biological Flow Apparatus – bespoke flow-through equipment investigating microbial effects on transport properties in intact/fractured rock cores under in-situ conditions.

  • Incubators for the cultivation and isolation of bacteria.

  • Epifluorescence microscopy for the assessment of bacterial numbers.

Applications include,

  • Environmental issues and the geological storage of carbon dioxide – extensive research has been undertaken in the UK and overseas into the effects of carbon dioxide (CO2) leakage on marine and terrestrial ecosystems

  • The influences of microbes and biofilms on mass transport properties through geological media – using the biological flow apparatus

  • Development of the in-house BGSE code to determine controls on subsurface microbial growth; ongoing research is updating and improving this model

  • Microbial effects on mineral dissolution and precipitation

  • Groundwater quality, including transport and viability studies in groundwater systems

  • Development of imaging to assess distribution and enumeration of microorganisms in geological materials

A) Biological Flow Apparatus. B) Anaerobic workstation. C) Molecular biology facilities
State of the art, uniqueness, & specific advantages

The Facility has a proven track record investigating the effects of CO2 leakage on ecosystems. For over 5 years it has conducted extensive research in both the UK and overseas and currently involved in projects assessing the ecosystem response to CO2 leakage and in understanding microbial activity in the reservoir.

The Facility can examine the impacts of CO2 injection on deep subsurface microbial populations and the impacts of those organisms on CO2 movement in the deep subsurface. Work in the field evaluates the environmental impacts of CO2 on surface ecosystems (e.g. botany) followed by laboratory based microbiology (e.g. DNA based methods, epifluorescence, microtox).

The Biological Flow Apparatus (BFA) can be modified to investigate interactions between microbes and injected CO2 in fractured or intact rock cores under realistic conditions of pressure and temperature.


Other Large Initiatives

selected publications

Watanabe, Y., Tait, K., Gregory, S. Hayashi, M., Shimamoto, A., Taylor, P., Stahl, H., Green, K., Yoshinaga, I., Suwa, Y. & Kita J. (2014)
Response of the ammonia oxidation activity of microorganisms in surface sediment to a controlled sub-seabed release of CO2.
International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control 38,162-170
Wragg, J., West, J. M., & Bateman, K. (2013)
Potential impact of CO2 on subsurface microbial ecosystems and implications for the performance of storage reservoirs
Energy Procedia, 37, 800-805.