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Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. 1996 Jan;69(1):75-86.

Methanogenesis at low temperatures by microflora of tundra wetland soil.

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Institute of Microbiology Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia.


Active methanogenesis from organic matter contained in soil samples from tundra wetland occurred even at 6 degrees C. Methane was the only end product in balanced microbial community with H2/CO2 as a substrate, besides acetate was produced as an intermediate at temperatures below 10 degrees C. The activity of different microbial groups of methanogenic community in the temperature range of 6-28 degrees C was investigated using 5% of tundra soil as inoculum. Anaerobic microflora of tundra wetland fermented different organic compounds with formation of hydrogen, volatile fatty acids (VFA) and alcohols. Methane was produced at the second step. Homoacetogenic and methanogenic bacteria competed for such substrates as hydrogen, formate, carbon monoxide and methanol. Acetogens out competed methanogens in an excess of substrate and low density of microbial population. Kinetic analysis of the results confirmed the prevalence of hydrogen acetogenesis on methanogenesis. Pure culture of acetogenic bacteria was isolated at 6 degrees C. Dilution of tundra soil and supply with the excess of substrate disbalanced the methanoigenic microbial community. It resulted in accumulation of acetate and other VFA. In balanced microbial community obviously autotrophic methanogens keep hydrogen concentration below a threshold for syntrophic degradation of VFA. Accumulation of acetate- and H2/CO2-utilising methanogens should be very important in methanogenic microbial community operating at low temperatures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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