Thumbnail Image

Response of Soil Microbial Communities to Fracing Fluids

Lozano, Tania Mariel
Extraction of oil and gas from shale is becoming a significant growing part of domestic energy production. Wastes from drillings include drill cuttings, drilling mud, flow back water during the first 30 days of the well, produced water from 30 days back, and miscellaneous wastes such as spent lubricants. The purpose of this study is to analyze the effect that these fracing fluids pose to soil microbial communities. DNA analysis of soil microorganisms, quantitative real-time PCR was performed to quantify microorganism population, ARISA analysis was done to identify relationships in microorganisms, and a methanogenesis toxicity test conducted in order to determine toxicity of said fracing fluids. Although there was no significant alteration of soil microorganism population, a variation of microbes present at various sampling days, suggests that a unique microorganism exists with the addition of fracing fluids to soil. Future research is essential for the identification of stated microorganism.