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FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2011 Jul;77(1):28-39. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2011.01080.x. Epub 2011 Apr 13.

Organic acids and ethanol inhibit the oxidation of methane by mire methanotrophs.

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Department of Ecological Microbiology, University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany.


Aerobic methane (CH(4) ) oxidation reduces the emission of CH(4) from mires and is regulated by various environmental factors. Organic acids and alcohols are intermediates of the anaerobic degradation of organic matter or are released by plant roots. Methanotrophs isolated from mires utilize these compounds preferentially to CH(4) . Thus, the effect of organic acids and ethanol on CH(4) oxidation by methanotrophs of a mire was evaluated. Slurries of mire soil oxidized supplemental CH(4) down to subatmospheric concentrations. The dominant pmoA and mmoX genotypes were affiliated with sequences from Methylocystis species capable of utilization of acetate and atmospheric CH(4) . Soil slurries supplemented with acetate, propionate or ethanol had reduced CH(4) oxidation rates compared with unsupplemented or glucose-supplemented controls. Expression of Methylocystis-affiliated pmoA decreased when CH(4) consumption decreased in response to acetate and was enhanced after acetate was consumed, at which time the consumption of CH(4) reached control levels. The inhibition of methanotroph activity might have been due to either toxicity of organic compounds or their preferred utilization. CH(4) oxidation was reduced at 5 and 0.5 mM of supplemental organic compounds. Acetate concentrations may exceed 3 mM in the investigated mire. Thus, the oxidation of CH(4) might decrease in microzones where organic acids occur.

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