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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1994 Sep;60(9):3220-7.

Associations of methanotrophs with the roots and rhizomes of aquatic vegetation.

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  • 1Darling Marine Center, University of Maine, Walpole 04573.


Results of an in vitro assay revealed that root-associated methane consumption was a common attribute of diverse emergent wetland macrophytes from a variety of habitats. Maximum potential uptake rates (Vmaxp) varied between about 1 and 10 micromol g (dry weight)-1 h-1, with no obvious correlation between rate and gross morphological characteristics of the plants. The Vmaxp corresponded to about 2 x 10(8) to 2 x 10(9) methanotrophs g (dry weight)-1, assuming that the root-associated methanotrophs have cell-specific activities comparable to those of known isolates. Vmaxp varied seasonally for an aquatic grass, Calamogrostis canadensis, and for the cattail, Typha latifolia, with highest rates in the late summer. Vmaxp was well correlated with ambient temperature for C. canadensis but weakly correlated for T. latifolia. The seasonal changes in Vmaxp, as well as inferences from apparent half-saturation constants for methane uptake (Kapp; generally 3 to 6 microM), indicated that oxygen availability might be more important than methane as a rate determinant. In addition, roots incubated under anoxic conditions showed little or no postanoxia aerobic methane consumption, indicating that root-associated methanotrophic populations might not tolerate variable oxygen availability. Hybridization of oligodeoxynucleotide probes specific for group I or group II methylotrophs also varied seasonally. The group II-specific probe consistently hybridized to a greater extent than the group I probe, and the relative amount of group II probe hybridization to C. canadensis root extracts was positively correlated with Vmaxp.

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