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Microb Ecol. 2005 Feb;49(2):209-17. Epub 2005 Jun 17.

Methanogen communities in a drained bog: effect of ash fertilization.

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Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Division of General Microbiology, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 56, 00014 Helsinki, Finland.


Forestry practises such has drainage have been shown to decrease emissions of the greenhouse gas methane (CH(4)) from peatlands. The aim of the study was to examine the methanogen populations in a drained bog in northern Finland, and to assess the possible effect of ash fertilization on potential methane production and methanogen communities. Peat samples were collected from control and ash fertilized (15,000 kg/ha) plots 5 years after ash application, and potential CH(4) production was measured. The methanogen community structure was studied by DNA isolation, PCR amplification of the methyl coenzyme-M reductase (mcr) gene, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE), and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis. The drained peatland showed low potential methane production and methanogen diversity in both control and ash-fertilized plots. Samples from both upper and deeper layers of peat were dominated by three groups of sequences related to Rice cluster-I hydrogenotroph methanogens. Even though pH was marginally greater in the ash-treated site, the occurrence of those sequences was not affected by ash fertilization. Interestingly, a less common group of sequences, related to the Fen cluster, were found only in the fertilized plots. The study confirmed the depth related change of methanogen populations in peatland.

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