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Environ Monit Assess. 2011 Nov;182(1-4):385-95. doi: 10.1007/s10661-011-1883-3. Epub 2011 Feb 12.

Effects of composition of labile organic matter on biogenic production of methane in the coastal sediments of the Arabian Sea.

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Microbiology Laboratory, National Institute of Oceanography, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Dona Paula, Goa, 403 004, India.


Coastal regions are potential zones for production of methane which could be governed by ecological/environmental differences or even sediment properties of a niche. In order to test the hypothesis that methanogenesis in most marine sediments could be driven more by proteins than by carbohydrates and lipid content of labile organic matter (LOM), incubation experiments were carried out with sediments from different environmental niches to measure methane production. The methane production rates were examined in relationship to the sediment biochemistry, i.e., carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids. The gas production measured by head space method ranged from 216 ng g( -1) day( -1) in the mangrove sediments to 3.1 μg g( -1) day( -1) in the shallow Arabian Sea. LOM ranged from 1.56 to 2.85 mg g( -1) in the shallow Arabian Sea, from 3.35 to 5.43 mg g( -1) in the mangrove estuary, and from 0.66 to 0.70 mg g( -1) in the sandy sediments with proteins contributing maximum to the LOM pool. Proteins influenced methane production in the clayey sediments of shallow depths of the Arabian Sea (r = 0.933, p < 0.001) and mangrove estuary (r = 0.981, p < 0.001) but in the sandy beach sediments, carbohydrates (r = 0.924, p < 0.001) governed the net methane production. The gas production was more pronounced in shallow and surface sediments and it decreased with depth apparently governed by the decrease in lability index. Thus, the lability index and protein content are important factors that determine methane production rates in these coastal ecosystems.

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