Drenzek Nicholas J.

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Nicholas J.

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  • Article
    Microbial diversity and methanogenic activity of Antrim Shale formation waters from recently fractured wells
    (Frontiers Media, 2013-12-06) Wuchter, Cornelia ; Banning, Erin C. ; Mincer, Tracy J. ; Drenzek, Nicholas J. ; Coolen, Marco J. L.
    The Antrim Shale in the Michigan Basin is one of the most productive shale gas formations in the U.S., but optimal resource recovery strategies must rely on a thorough understanding of the complex biogeochemical, microbial, and physical interdependencies in this and similar systems. We used Illumina MiSeq 16S rDNA sequencing to analyze the diversity and relative abundance of prokaryotic communities present in Antrim shale formation water of three closely spaced recently fractured gas-producing wells. In addition, the well waters were incubated with a suite of fermentative and methanogenic substrates in an effort to stimulate microbial methane generation. The three wells exhibited substantial differences in their community structure that may arise from their different drilling and fracturing histories. Bacterial sequences greatly outnumbered those of archaea and shared highest similarity to previously described cultures of mesophiles and moderate halophiles within the Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, and δ- and ε-Proteobacteria. The majority of archaeal sequences shared highest sequence similarity to uncultured euryarchaeotal environmental clones. Some sequences closely related to cultured methylotrophic and hydrogenotrophic methanogens were also present in the initial well water. Incubation with methanol and trimethylamine stimulated methylotrophic methanogens and resulted in the largest increase in methane production in the formation waters, while fermentation triggered by the addition of yeast extract and formate indirectly stimulated hydrogenotrophic methanogens. The addition of sterile powdered shale as a complex natural substrate stimulated the rate of methane production without affecting total methane yields. Depletion of methane indicative of anaerobic methane oxidation (AMO) was observed over the course of incubation with some substrates. This process could constitute a substantial loss of methane in the shale formation.
  • Article
    Blank assessment for ultra-small radiocarbon samples : chemical extraction and separation versus AMS
    (Dept. of Geosciences, University of Arizona, 2010-08) Santos, Guaciara M. ; Southon, John R. ; Drenzek, Nicholas J. ; Ziolkowski, Lori A. ; Druffel, Ellen R. M. ; Xu, Xiaomei ; Zhang, Dachun ; Trumbore, Susan E. ; Eglinton, Timothy I. ; Hughen, Konrad A.
    The Keck Carbon Cycle AMS facility at the University of California, Irvine (KCCAMS/UCI) has developed protocols for analyzing radiocarbon in samples as small as ~0.001 mg of carbon (C). Mass-balance background corrections for modern and 14C-dead carbon contamination (MC and DC, respectively) can be assessed by measuring 14C-free and modern standards, respectively, using the same sample processing techniques that are applied to unknown samples. This approach can be validated by measuring secondary standards of similar size and 14C composition to the unknown samples. Ordinary sample processing (such as ABA or leaching pretreatment, combustion/graphitization, and handling) introduces MC contamination of ~0.6 ± 0.3 μg C, while DC is ~0.3 ± 0.15 μg C. Today, the laboratory routinely analyzes graphite samples as small as 0.015 mg C for external submissions and ≅0.001 mg C for internal research activities with a precision of ~1% for ~0.010 mg C. However, when analyzing ultra-small samples isolated by a series of complex chemical and chromatographic methods (such as individual compounds), integrated procedural blanks may be far larger and more variable than those associated with combustion/graphitization alone. In some instances, the mass ratio of these blanks to the compounds of interest may be so high that the reported 14C results are meaningless. Thus, the abundance and variability of both MC and DC contamination encountered during ultra-small sample analysis must be carefully and thoroughly evaluated. Four case studies are presented to illustrate how extraction chemistry blanks are determined.