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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1995 Feb;61(2):592-601.

Capacity for methane oxidation in landfill cover soils measured in laboratory-scale soil microcosms.


Laboratory-scale soil microcosms containing different soils were permeated with CH(inf4) for up to 6 months to investigate their capacity to develop a methanotrophic community. Methane emissions were monitored continuously until steady states were established. The porous, coarse sand soil developed the greatest methanotrophic capacity (10.4 mol of CH(inf4) (middot) m(sup-2) (middot) day(sup-1)), the greatest yet reported in the literature. Vertical profiles of O(inf2), CH(inf4), and methanotrophic potential in the soils were determined at steady state. Methane oxidation potentials were greatest where the vertical profiles of O(inf2) and CH(inf4) overlapped. A significant increase in the organic matter content of the soil, presumably derived from methanotroph biomass, occurred where CH(inf4) oxidation was greatest. Methane oxidation kinetics showed that a soil community with a low methanotrophic capacity (V(infmax) of 258 nmol (middot) g of soil(sup-1) (middot) h(sup-1)) but relatively high affinity (k(infapp) of 1.6 (mu)M) remained in N(inf2)-purged control microcosms, even after 6 months without CH(inf4). We attribute this to a facultative, possibly mixotrophic, methanotrophic microbial community. When purged with CH(inf4), a different methanotrophic community developed which had a lower affinity (k(infapp) of 31.7 (mu)M) for CH(inf4) but a greater capacity (V(infmax) of 998 nmol (middot) g of soil(sup-1) (middot) h(sup-1)) for CH(inf4) oxidation, reflecting the enrichment of an active high-capacity methanotrophic community. Compared with the unamended control soil, amendment of the coarse sand with sewage sludge enhanced CH(inf4) oxidation capacity by 26%; K(inf2)HPO(inf4) amendment had no significant effect, while amendment with NH(inf4)NO(inf3) reduced the CH(inf4) oxidation capacity by 64%. In vitro experiments suggested that NH(inf4)NO(inf3) additions (10 and 71 (mu)mol (middot) g of soil(sup-1)) inhibited CH(inf4) oxidation by a nonspecific ionic effect rather than by specific inhibition by NH(inf4)(sup+).


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