Nature 130, 437-437 (17 September 1932) | doi:10.1038/130437a0

Petroleum Bacteria and the Nutrition of Psilopa petrolei



IN a recent letter to NATURE,1 Messrs. Lipman and Greenberg have described a coccus or cocco-bacillus occurring in petroleum obtained from a Californian oil well 8700 ft. in depth, and have stated that it has the power of oxidising petroleum with the production of carbon dioxide. This is an interesting addition to the list of micro-organisms which have been recorded as capable of decomposing paraffin hydrocarbons.2



  1. 129, 204; Feb. 6, 1932.
  2. See Söhngen, N. L., 1913, " Benzin, Petroleum, Paraffinol und Paraffin als Kohlenstoff- und Energiequelle für Mikroben." Centbl. Bakt., 37, 595–608, and Tausz, J. and Peter, M., 1919, " Neue Methode der Kohlenwasserstoffanalyse mit Hilfe von Bakterien." , Centbl. Bakt., 49,497–554.
  3. Thorpe, W. H., " The Biology of the Petroleum Fly, Psilopa petrolei." Trans. Entom. Sac. Lond., 78, 331–344; 1930.