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Nat Commun. 2014;5:3212. doi: 10.1038/ncomms4212.

Discovery of a novel methanogen prevalent in thawing permafrost.

Author information

1
1] Australian Centre for Ecogenomics, School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane 4072, Queensland, Australia [2] [3].
2
1] Australian Centre for Ecogenomics, School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane 4072, Queensland, Australia [2].
3
Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA.
4
1] Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA [2].
5
Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida 32306-4320, USA.
6
Department of Geological Sciences, Stockholm University, Stockholm 106 91, Sweden.
7
Chemical Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831, USA.
8
1] Chemical Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831, USA [2].
9
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA.
10
Australian Centre for Ecogenomics, School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane 4072, Queensland, Australia.

Abstract

Thawing permafrost promotes microbial degradation of cryo-sequestered and new carbon leading to the biogenic production of methane, creating a positive feedback to climate change. Here we determine microbial community composition along a permafrost thaw gradient in northern Sweden. Partially thawed sites were frequently dominated by a single archaeal phylotype, Candidatus 'Methanoflorens stordalenmirensis' gen. nov. sp. nov., belonging to the uncultivated lineage 'Rice Cluster II' (Candidatus 'Methanoflorentaceae' fam. nov.). Metagenomic sequencing led to the recovery of its near-complete genome, revealing the genes necessary for hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis. These genes are highly expressed and methane carbon isotope data are consistent with hydrogenotrophic production of methane in the partially thawed site. In addition to permafrost wetlands, 'Methanoflorentaceae' are widespread in high methane-flux habitats suggesting that this lineage is both prevalent and a major contributor to global methane production. In thawing permafrost, Candidatus 'M. stordalenmirensis' appears to be a key mediator of methane-based positive feedback to climate warming.

PMID:
24526077
DOI:
10.1038/ncomms4212
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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