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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1979 Feb;37(2):303-9.

Oxidation of methane in the absence of oxygen in lake water samples.


Methane was oxidized to carbon dioxide in the absence of oxygen by water samples from Lake Mendota, Madison, Wis. The anaerobic oxidation of methane did not result in the assimilation of carbon from methane into material precipitable by cold 10% trichloracetic acid. Only samples taken at the suface of the sediment of Lake Mendota were capable of catalyzine the anaerobic oxidation of methane. The rate of methane oxidation in the presence of oxygen was highest in samples taken from near the thermocline. Of the radioactive methane oxidized, 30 to 60% was assimilated into material precipitable by cold 10% trichloroacetic acid during aerobic incubation of the samples. These data support the conclusion that two distinct groups of methane-oxidizing organisms occur in stratifield lakes. Enrichments with acetate and methane as the sole sources of carbon and energy and sulfate as the electron acceptor resulted in the growth of bacteria that oxidize methane. Sulfate, acetate, and methane were all required for growth of enrichments. Acetate was not oxidized to carbon dioxide but was assimilated by cells. Methane was not assimilated but was oxidized to carbon dioxide in the absence of air.

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