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FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2010 Jun;72(3):370-85. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2010.00870.x. Epub 2010 Mar 25.

Diversity, abundance and distribution of amoA-encoding archaea in deep-sea methane seep sediments of the Okhotsk Sea.

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1
State Key Laboratory of Heavy Oil Processing and Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology, China University of Petroleum (East China), Qingdao, China. danghy@upc.edu.cn

Abstract

The ecological characteristics of amoA-encoding archaea (AEA) in deep-sea sediments are largely unsolved. This paper aimed to study the diversity, structure, distribution and abundance of the archaeal community and especially its AEA components in the cold seep surface sediments of the Okhotsk Sea, a marginal sea harboring one of the largest methane hydrate reservoirs in the world. Diverse archaeal 16S rRNA gene sequences were identified, with the majority being related to sequences from other cold seep and methane-rich sediment environments. However, the AEA diversity and abundance were quite low as revealed by amoA gene analyses. Correlation analysis indicates that the abundance of the archaeal amoA genes was correlated with the sediment organic matter content. Thus, it is possible that the amoA-carrying archaea here might utilize organic matter for a living. The affiliation of certain archaeal amoA sequences to the GenBank sequences originally obtained from deep-sea hydrothermal vent environments indicated that the related AEA either have a wide range of temperature adaptation or they have a thermophilic evolutionary history in the modern cold deep-sea sediments of the Okhotsk Sea. The dominance of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria over AEA may indicate that bacteria play a significant role in nitrification in the Okhotsk Sea cold seep sediments.

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