Biogeochemistry and microbial ecology of methane oxidation in anoxic environments: a review.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego, 92093-0202, USA.
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek (Impact Factor: 2.14). 09/2002; 81(1-4):271-82. DOI: 10.1023/A:1020587206351
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Evidence supporting a key role for anaerobic methane oxidation in the global methane cycle is reviewed. Emphasis is on recent microbiological advances. The driving force for research on this process continues to be the fact that microbial communities intercept and consume methane from anoxic environments, methane that would otherwise enter the atmosphere. Anaerobic methane oxidation is biogeochemically important because methane is a potent greenhouse gas in the atmosphere and is abundant in anoxic environments. Geochemical evidence for this process has been observed in numerous marine sediments along the continental margins, in methane seeps and vents, around methane hydrate deposits, and in anoxic waters. The anaerobic oxidation of methane is performed by at least two phylogenetically distinct groups of archaea, the ANME-1 and ANME-2. These archaea are frequently observed as consortia with sulfate-reducing bacteria, and the metabolism of these consortia presumably involves a syntrophic association based on interspecies electron transfer. The archaeal member of a consortium apparently oxidizes methane and shuttles reduced compounds to the sulfate-reducing bacteria. Despite recent advances in understanding anaerobic methane oxidation, uncertainties still remain regarding the nature and necessity of the syntrophic association, the biochemical pathway of methane oxidation, and the interaction of the process with the local chemical and physical environment. This review will consider the microbial ecology and biogeochemistry of anaerobic methane oxidation with a special emphasis on the interactions between the responsible organisms and their environment.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This biogeochemical, molecular genetic and lipid biomarker study of sediments ( approximately 4 m cores) from the Skagerrak (Denmark) investigated methane cycling in a sediment with a clear sulfate-methane-transition zone (SMTZ) and where CH(4) supply was by diffusion, rather than by advection, as in more commonly studied seep sites. Sulfate reduction removed sulfate by 0.7 m and CH(4) accumulated below. (14)C-radiotracer measurements demonstrated active H(2)/CO(2) and acetate methanogenesis and anaerobic oxidation of CH(4) (AOM). Maximum AOM rates occurred near the SMTZ ( approximately 3 nmol cm(-3) day(-1) at 0.75 m) but also continued deeper, overall, at much lower rates. Maximum rates of H(2)/CO(2) and acetate methanogenesis occurred below the SMTZ but H(2)/CO(2) methanogenesis rates were x 10 those of acetate methanogenesis, and this was consistent with initial values of (13)C-depleted CH(4) (delta(13)C c.-80 per thousand). Areal AOM and methanogenic rates were similar ( approximately 1.7 mmol m(-2) day(-1)), hence, CH(4) flux is finely balanced. A 16S rRNA gene library from 1.39 m combined with methanogen (T-RFLP), bacterial (16S rRNA DGGE) and lipid biomarker depth profiles showed the presence of populations similar to some seep sites: ANME-2a (dominant), ANME-3, Methanomicrobiales, Methanosaeta Archaea, with abundance changes with depth corresponding to changes in activities and sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB). Below the SMTZ to approximately 1.7 m CH(4) became progressively more (13)C depleted (delta(13)C -82 per thousand) indicating a zone of CH(4) recycling which was consistent with the presence of (13)C-depleted archaeol (delta(13)C -55 per thousand). Pore water acetate concentrations decreased in this zone (to approximately 5 microM), suggesting that H(2), not acetate, was an important CH(4) cycling intermediate. The potential biomarkers for AOM-associated SRB, non-isoprenoidal ether lipids, increased below the SMTZ but this distribution reflected 16S rRNA gene sequences for JS1 and OP8 bacteria rather than those of SRB. At this site peak rates of methane production and consumption are spatially separated and seem to be conducted by different archaeal groups. Also AOM is predominantly coupled to sulfate reduction, unlike recent reports from some seep and gassy sediment sites.
    Environmental Microbiology 06/2007; 9(5):1146-61. DOI:10.1111/j.1462-2920.2006.01237.x · 6.24 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A novel optical method for non-invasive, quantitative and high-resolution imaging of spatial and temporal pH dynamics in soils mediated by plant roots is introduced. This method overcomes present limitations of measurement of pH, mainly short-term and punctiform measurements, by recording long-term dynamics of the micro-pattern of pH in the root-soil interface without disturbance of the biological and physico-chemical conditions. Juncus effusus L., rooting in a permanently flooded rhizotron, was selected as the test organism for qualifying the technique. The measurements showed pronounced diurnal variations of pH along the roots, particularly along the elongation zone. Diurnal oscillation of pH caused by the roots reached up to 0.5 units. Long-term records at 4 s intervals over more than 8 weeks revealed considerable spatial and temporal patterns of pH dynamics in the rhizosphere of about 10% of the pH scale (pH 7.0-8.5). The measured data were validated by the use of pH electrodes. Concomitantly measured oxygen concentration showed hypoxic conditions around root tips (10-70 micromol O2 L-1) and almost anoxic conditions (0.9 micromol O2 L-1) in the bulk soil. The present study qualifies this novel pH-sensing technique as a powerful analytical tool for quantitative visualization of undisturbed bioprocess dynamics.
    Plant Cell and Environment 03/2007; 30(2):176-86. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-3040.2006.01616.x · 5.91 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The Cascadia Margin is a region of active accretionary tectonics characterized by high methane flux accompanied by the formation of sedimentary gas hydrates, carbonate nodules, and carbonate pavements. Several sediment cores have been obtained from this region by the Ocean Drilling Project (ODP), and in some cases the boreholes have been sealed off, serving as sites for long-term observatories. We characterized geochemical parameters and diversity of Archaea in one such "legacy" borehole, ODP site 892b, as well as in bottom water immediately above the borehole and in two nearby sediments. The methane concentrations in the samples varied over five orders of magnitude, from approximately 25 to 35 nM in the bottom water to approximately 1.4mM in one of the sediment samples. Despite these differences, the Archaeal community in all samples was dominated by gene sequences related to the methanogenic Archaea, a finding that correlates with studies of other environments characterized by high methane flux. The archaeal phylotype richness in borehole ODP 892b was limited to two phylotypes; one specifically related to Methanosaeta spp., the other to the anaerobic methane oxidizing ANME-1 group. Although some similar groups were observed in nearby sediment and seawater samples, their archaeal phylotype richness was significantly higher than in the borehole. The possible presence of a dynamic microbial community in the Cascadia Margin sub-surface and its potential roles in methanogenesis, anaerobic oxidation of methane, and authigenic precipitation of carbonate in the Cascadia Margin are discussed.
    FEMS Microbiology Ecology 11/2005; 54(2):167-77. DOI:10.1016/j.femsec.2005.03.015 · 3.88 Impact Factor


Available from