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FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2005 Jun 1;53(1):3-13. Epub 2005 Jan 4.

Trophic interactions in the methanogenic microbial community of low-temperature terrestrial ecosystems.

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Technische Universit├Ąt Carolo-Wilhelmina, Pockelsstrasse 14, D-38106 Braunschweig, Germany.


The formation of methane in various ecosystems is due to the functioning of an anaerobic community, which combines trophically different groups of microorganisms. The methanogenic microbial community is a complex biological system, which responds to low temperatures by changes in its trophic structure resulting in redistributing matter flows. The enhanced activity of homoacetogenic bacteria at low temperature plays a significant role in this redistribution. Due to their relatively high growth rates and metabolic versatility, homoacetogens can successfully compete with fermenting bacteria and hydrogenotrophic methanogenic archaea for common substrates. The concentration of hydrogen is an important regulatory factor in the psychroactive methanogenic community. At low temperature methanogenic archaea possessing a higher affinity for hydrogen than homoacetogens provide for interspecies H2 transport in syntrophic reactions of fatty acid decomposition. The formation of a balanced community at low temperature is a longtime process. Cold terrestrial ecosystems are dominated by psychroactive (psychrotolerant) microorganisms, which can grow over a wide range of ambient temperatures.

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