Microbial stabilisation and kinetic enhancement of marine methane hydrates in both deionised- and sea-water

Mohammad Reza Ghaani, Jonathan M. Young, Prithwish K. Nandi, Shamsudeen Dandare, Christopher C.R. Allen, Niall J. English*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
53 Downloads (Pure)


The large quantity of marine methane hydrates has driven substantial interest in methane-gas-fuel potential [4-5], especially with the qualified success of Shensu (2017) and Nankai-Trough (2014 & 17) production trials via depressurisation (blighted ultimately by sanding out) [4], building on an earlier Malik-2008 trial for permafrost-bound hydrate. In particular, obviating deep-water-drilling approaches, such as the MeBO production rig (without such a drill bit) [5], together with blowout preventers [4], constitutes a tantalising cost-saving measure. Tailored means of addressing sand production by customised gravel packs, wellbore screens and slotted liners with from-seafloor drilling will be expected to lead to future production-trial success [4]. However, despite these exciting engineering advances and a few marine-mimicking laboratory studies of methane-hydrate kinetics and stabilisation from microbial perspectives [6,7], relatively little is known about the thermogenic or microbial origin of marine hydrates (Lanoil et al., 2001 Nov) [8], nor their possible formation kinetics or potential stabilisation by microbial sources as an exponent of Gaia's hypothesis, or within the context of “Gaia's breath” as regards global methane ‘exhalations’ [2]. Here, for the first time, we elucidate the methylotrophic-microbial basis for kinetic enhancement and stabilisation of marine-hydrate formation in both deionised- and sea-water, identifying the key protein at play, which has some similarity to porins in other methylotrophic communities. In so doing, we suggest such phenomena in marine hydrates as evidential of Gaia's hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish
Early online date27 Oct 2021
Publication statusEarly online date - 27 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
NE, PKN and MRG thank Science Foundation Ireland for funding under grant SFI 15/ERC-I3142 . MRG also thanks the Irish Research Council for a Government-of-Ireland postdoctoral fellowship ( GOIPD/2016/365 ). CCRA was supported by a QUB AFQCC grant funded by Invest Northern Ireland . SD was supported by a Commonwealth PhD Scholarship . JY was supported by a DENI studentship . NE thanks John Osegovic, and all authors thank Timofey Skvortsov, for interesting and helpful conversations.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Southwest Petroleum University


  • Gas hydrate
  • Methylotrophs
  • Microbes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Fuel Technology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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