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Environ Microbiol. 2000 Dec;2(6):666-79.

Effects of O2 and CH4 on presence and activity of the indigenous methanotrophic community in rice field soil.

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


The activity and distribution of methanotrophs in soil depend on the availability of CH4 and O2. Therefore, we investigated the activity and structure of the methanotrophic community in rice field soil under four factorial combinations of high and low CH4 and O2 concentrations. The methanotrophic population structure was resolved by denaturant gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) with different PCR primer sets targeting the 16S rRNA gene, and two functional genes coding for key enzymes in methanotrophs, i.e. the particulate methane monooxygenase (pmoA) and the methanol dehydrogenase (mxaF). Changes in the biomass of type I and II methanotrophic bacteria in the rice soil were determined by analysis of phospholipid-ester-linked fatty acid (PLFA) biomarkers. The relative contribution of type I and II methanotrophs to the measured methane oxidation activity was determined by labelling of soil samples with 14CH4 followed by analysis of [14C]-PLFAs. CH4 oxidation was repressed by high O2 (20.5%), and enhanced by low O2 (1%). Depending on the CH4 and O2 mixing ratios, different methanotrophic communities developed with a higher diversity at low than at high CH4 concentration as revealed by PCR-DGGE. However, a prevalence of type I or II populations was not detected. The [14C]-PLFA fingerprints, on the other hand, revealed that CH4 oxidation activity was dominated by type I methanotrophs in incubations with low CH4 mixing ratios (1000 p.p.m.v.) and during initiation of CH4 consumption regardless of O2 or CH4 mixing ratio. At high methane mixing ratios (10 000 p.p.m.v.), type I and II methanotrophs contributed equally to the measured CH4 metabolism. Collectively, type I methanotrophs responded fast and with pronounced shifts in population structure and dominated the activity under all four gas mixtures. Type II methanotrophs, on the other hand, although apparently more abundant, always present and showing a largely stable population structure, became active later and contributed to CH4 oxidation activity mainly under high CH4 mixing ratios.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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