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Environ Microbiol. 1999 Apr;1(2):159-66.

Methanogenic archaea and CO2-dependent methanogenesis on washed rice roots.

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Max-Planck-Institut für terrestrische Mikrobiologie, Marburg, Germany.


Washed excised roots of rice (Oryza sativa) immediately started to produce CH4 when they were incubated in phosphate buffer under anoxic conditions (N2 atmosphere), with initial rates varying between 2 and 70nmolh(-1)g(-1) dry weight of root material (mean +/- SE: 20.3 +/- 5.9 nmol h(-1) g(-1) dry weight; n = 18). Production of CH4 continued for at least 500 h, with rates usually decreasing slowly. CH4 production was not significantly affected by methyl fluoride, an inhibitor of acetoclastic methanogenesis. Less than 0.5% of added [2-14C]-acetate was converted to 14CH4, and conversion of 14CO2 to 14CH4 indicated that CH4 was almost exclusively produced from CO2. Occasionally, however, especially when the roots were incubated without additional buffer, CH4 production started to accelerate after about 200h reaching rates of > 100 nmol h(-1) g(-1) dry weight. Methyl fluoride inhibited methanogenesis by more than 20% only in these cases, and the conversion of 14CO2 to 14CH4 decreased. These results indicate that CO2-dependent rather than acetoclastic methanogenesis was primarily responsible for CH4 production in anoxically incubated rice roots. Determination of most probable numbers of methanogens on washed roots showed highest numbers (10(6)g(-1) dry roots) on H2 and ethanol, i.e. substrates that support CH4 production from CO2. Numbers on acetate (10(5) g(-1) dry roots) and methanol (10(4)g(-1) dry roots) were lower. Methanogenic consortia enriched on H2 and ethanol were characterized phylogenetically by comparative sequence analysis of archaeal small-subunit (SSU) ribosomal RNA-encoding genes (rDNA). These sequences showed a high similarity to SSU rDNA clones that had been obtained previously by direct extraction of total DNA from washed rice roots. The SSU rDNA sequences recovered from the H2/CO2-using consortium either belonged to a novel lineage of methanogens that grouped within the phylogenetic radiation of the Methanosarcinales and Methanomicrobiales or were affiliated with Methanobacterium bryantii. SSU rDNA sequences retrieved from the ethanol-using consortium either grouped within the genus Methanosarcina or belonged to another novel lineage within the phylogenetic radiation of the Methanosarcinales and Methanomicrobiales. Cultured organisms belonging to either of the two novel lineages have not been reported yet.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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