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Multiple groups of methanotrophic bacteria mediate methane oxidation in anoxic lake sediments
Su, G.; Zopfi, J.; Niemann, H.; Lehmann, M.F. (2022). Multiple groups of methanotrophic bacteria mediate methane oxidation in anoxic lake sediments. Front. Microbiol. 13: 864630.
In: Frontiers in Microbiology. Frontiers Media: Lausanne. ISSN 1664-302X; e-ISSN 1664-302X, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    aerobic methanotrophs; anaerobic oxidation of methane; lake sediment; methane oxidation rates; electron acceptors; lipid biomarkers; microbial community

Auteurs  Top 
  • Su, G.
  • Zopfi, J.
  • Niemann, H., meer
  • Lehmann, M.F.


    Freshwater lakes represent an important source of the potent greenhouse gas methane (CH4) to the atmosphere. Methane emissions are regulated to large parts by aerobic (MOx) and anaerobic (AOM) oxidation of methane, which are important CH4 sinks in lakes. In contrast to marine benthic environments, our knowledge about the modes of AOM and the related methanotrophic microorganisms in anoxic lake sediments is still rudimentary. Here, we demonstrate the occurrence of AOM in the anoxic sediments of Lake Sempach (Switzerland), with maximum in situ AOM rates observed within the surface sediment layers in presence of multiple groups of methanotrophic bacteria and various oxidants known to supportAOM. However, substrate-amended incubations (with NO2 , NO3, SO42−, Fe-, and Mn-oxides) revealed that none of the electron acceptors previously reported to support AOM enhanced methane turnover in Lake Sempach sediments under anoxic conditions. In contrast, the addition of oxygen to the anoxic sediments resulted in an approximately 10-fold increase in methane oxidation relative to the anoxic incubations. Phylogenetic and isotopic evidence indicate that both Type I and Type II aerobic methanotrophs were growing on methane under both oxic and anoxic conditions, although methane assimilation rates were an order of magnitude higher under oxic conditions. While the anaerobic electron acceptor responsible for AOM could not be identified, these findings expand our understanding of the metabolic versatility of canonically aerobic methanotrophs under anoxic conditions, with important implications for future investigations to identify methane oxidation processes. Bacterial AOM by facultative aerobic methane oxidizers might be of much larger environmental significance in reducing methane emissions than previously thought.

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