New Genus Of Bacteria Found In Fracking Wells

Deep underground in America's shale formations, researchers at the Ohio State University have just discovered a new genus of bacteria.

The team recently published a study in "Nature Microbiology" that describes a new genus of bacteria discovered at two separate fracking wells drilled hundreds of miles apart from each other.

The team dubbed the new bacteria Candidatus Frackibacter as a play on the word "fracking".

The researchers took fluid samples from the two wells over 328 days and reconstructed the genomes of the bacteria and archaea living in the two shales - and they found that the two wells developed nearly identical communities of microbes.

The startling part of this study is that the two wells are located in two different shales - one in the Utica shale and one in the Marcellus shale - and the wells are also owned by two different companies which used two different fracking techniques.

The researchers identified 31 different microbes in the wells, some of which probably came from the surface ponds that companies exploit to pump into the wells - but many of the bacteria may have come from the shale - such as Candidatus Frackibacter.

While companies use different proprietary mixtures of toxic fracking cocktails to break up the shale - lead author Rebecca Daley points out that they all start with water and add other chemicals.

Once the toxic fluid is in the well - salt within the shale leaches into it making it briny, which researchers suggest may be the biggest factor in creating these self-sustaining communities of microbes.

The researchers suggest that the saltiness of the well water forces microbes to develop organic compounds called "osmoprotectants" to keep the microbes' cells from exploding in the briny mixture.

Then, when the microbes die, they release their osmoprotectants into the environment for other microbes to either consume for energy or to use for protection.

This research opens up a whole world of questions about where Candidatus Frackibacter comes from and what its role in the environment is - and this is also an amazing reminder that we still don't really understand the world around us and the environment below the surface of the Earth, let alone how we're changing it with dangerous and poorly studied industrial processes like fracking.


tcluney's picture
tcluney 7 years 39 weeks ago

We only have one earth and we are destroying it as fast as we can.....all in the name of money.

tcluney's picture
tcluney 7 years 39 weeks ago


Origslammer1's picture
Origslammer1 7 years 39 weeks ago

Not to worry... The Creator has built within nature a process to correct for mans arrognance to corrupt the natural environment. The Caveat: This process to restore its natural balance has a negative side effect, in that mankind may not survive the correction that nature will implement. Mankind's quest for greed will be his own doing.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 7 years 39 weeks ago

Guess what....that bacteria wouldn't exist in wells if we had a socialist economy, and I'll tell you why. The biggest lie ever told was that if you give the already rich all of the remaining wealth it will trickle down into the pockets of the suckers, the "teabaggers"! The second biggest lie ever told....socialism means nobody will be motivated to work!

That last lie works for a capitalist slackard who wants to make money off the backs of desperate workers who want to eat and raise a family, but it's just an all out fffnnn lie. Democratic Socialism beneifits all in a manner that would eliminate the possibility of comtaminated wells. We the People would own the energy sector and thus guard against self annihilation. This is final proof that capitalism is an archaic form of economic sustainability!!!!!!

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 39 weeks ago

2950-10K -- There are Democratic Socialist countries among first world countries. As you say, I do not think any of them have that degenerate kind of bacteria. However, they do have an active marketplace driven by supply and demand. They also have capitalism. What they did not have was the Powell Doctrine and the degenerate oligarchs. It seems we need to fight the oligarchs and not capitalism.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 7 years 39 weeks ago

FYI: I've got reliable info that the IRS is not looking into Donny's returns! He's just balking! He's not worth a god damn penny is what is coming thru.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 7 years 39 weeks ago

Donny got the star break on his home...lmao!

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Thom's blog in this space and moving to a new home.

Please follow us across to - this will be the only place going forward to read Thom's blog posts and articles.

From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Thom Hartmann is a creative thinker and committed small-d democrat. He has dealt with a wide range of topics throughout his life, and this book provides an excellent cross section. The Thom Hartmann Reader will make people both angry and motivated to act."
Dean Baker, economist and author of Plunder and Blunder, False Profits, and Taking Economics Seriously
From Cracking the Code:
"Thom Hartmann ought to be bronzed. His new book sets off from the same high plane as the last and offers explicit tools and how-to advice that will allow you to see, hear, and feel propaganda when it's directed at you and use the same techniques to refute it. His book would make a deaf-mute a better communicator. I want him on my reading table every day, and if you try one of his books, so will you."
Peter Coyote, actor and author of Sleeping Where I Fall
From Screwed:
"Thom Hartmann’s book explains in simple language and with concrete research the details of the Neo-con’s war against the American middle class. It proves what many have intuited and serves to remind us that without a healthy, employed, and vital middle class, America is no more than the richest Third World country on the planet."
Peter Coyote, Actor and author of Sleeping Where I Fall