1887

Abstract

Summary

Electric and magnetic fields can influence microbial activity and could be used to control and improve the efficiency of microbial enhanced oil recovery. In addition, large electric and magnetic fields could be useful in improving operational efficiency by preventing undesired microbial processes in the petroleum industry. This paper reviews the literature from outside this industry to demonstrate that electric and magnetic fields can alter microbial activity. As expected very high fields deactivate or kill microbes but, perhaps unexpectedly, modest fields can actually increase their activity and also help to direct their movement.

Microbes may be affected by electric and magnetic fields in three ways: 1) Membrane permeabilization that can induce either inactivity or activity, 2) Cell orientation alteration, 3) Cell velocity changes.

Ways in which pulsed electric fields can be modified to influence microbial behaviour include: change field intensity, number of pulses, pulse width and pulse shape. The critical field when membrane permeabilization occurs seems to depend on cell size, orientation and type of cell wall.

This paper gives background material that, through research, may lead to future oil industry applications using electrical and magnetic fields to control microbial behaviour.

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/content/papers/10.3997/2214-4609.201700256
2017-04-24
2020-04-09
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