The Titan Target:

"More than two-thirds of all the oil discovered in the United States is still in the ground and can't be recovered economically using currently accepted practices."
— Dr. Lewis R. Brown, Mississippi State University




A Basic Primer on Microbes & Biofilms (Extracts)

From: The Center for Biofilm Engineering,
The W.M. Keck Foundation Fellowship Announcement

"The mechanics of MEOR at a molecular level are really quite simple, but must be thoroughly understood to assess both the efficiency and the efficacy of the process. The microbes in MEOR are simply hydrocarbon-utilizing, non-pathogenic (i.e., friendly) microorganisms which are endemic to, and are naturally-occurring in petroleum reservoirs. What this means is, they naturally exist in reservoirs, are safe for plants, animals and humans, and ingest hydrocarbons as a food source which they metabolize.

"Since the time of Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) the human perception of bacteria has been that these very small organisms swim or float in aquatic environments as independent single cells. Viewed as unicellular organisms, bacteria have naturally been understood as primitive life forms with limited ability to organize, cooperate, and differentiate. Mounting evidence suggests that this view of bacteria is simplistic.

"Direct microscopic observation of bacteria growing in nature...reveals that bacteria preferentially attach to surfaces and grow in multicellular biofilms. A biofilm is a dense aggregation of microorganisms embedded in a matrix (slime) of their own secretion. Familiar examples of biofilms include...the slippery coating on a rock that makes for treacherous footing in crossing a stream, and the slime on a flower vase after a few days.

"Biofilms accumulate on virtually any wetted surface. They have been described in environments ranging from marine sediments to oilfield pipelines, to cooling water towers. Bacteria in biofilms organize into structurally complex architectures under the control of special chemical signals that are exchanged between cells. They express a unique set of genes in the biofilm mode of growth suggesting differentiation. They inhabit a wide variety of environmental microniches within the biofilm, allowing them to coexist symbiotically with other species of bacteria and to resist antimicrobial challenges."


From: The Center for Biofilm Engineering,
"A Friendly Guide to Biofilm Basics"

"Biofilm forms when bacteria adhere to surfaces in aqueous environments and begin to excrete a slimy, glue-like substance that can anchor them to all kinds of materials – such as metals, plastics, soil particles, medical implant materials, and tissue. A biofilm can be formed by a single bacterial species, but more often biofilms consist of many species of microbes (bacteria), as well as fungi, algae, protozoa, debris and corrosion products. Essentially, biofilm may form on any surface exposed to bacteria and some amount of water. Once anchored to a surface, biofilm microorganisms carry out a variety of detrimental or beneficial reactions (by human standards), depending on the surrounding environmental conditions."

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