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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2016 Apr 4;82(8):2363-2371. doi: 10.1128/AEM.03640-15. Print 2016 Apr.

Alpha- and Gammaproteobacterial Methanotrophs Codominate the Active Methane-Oxidizing Communities in an Acidic Boreal Peat Bog.

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School of Biology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
School of Earth and Environment, University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA, Australia.
Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA.
School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, United Kingdom.
School of Biology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA


The objective of this study was to characterize metabolically active, aerobic methanotrophs in an ombrotrophic peatland in the Marcell Experimental Forest, in Minnesota. Methanotrophs were investigated in the field and in laboratory incubations using DNA-stable isotope probing (SIP), expression studies on particulate methane monooxygenase (pmoA) genes, and amplicon sequencing of 16S rRNA genes. Potential rates of oxidation ranged from 14 to 17 μmol of CH4g dry weight soil(-1)day(-1) Within DNA-SIP incubations, the relative abundance of methanotrophs increased from 4% in situ to 25 to 36% after 8 to 14 days. Phylogenetic analysis of the(13)C-enriched DNA fractions revealed that the active methanotrophs were dominated by the genera Methylocystis(type II;Alphaproteobacteria),Methylomonas, and Methylovulum(both, type I;Gammaproteobacteria). In field samples, a transcript-to-gene ratio of 1 to 2 was observed for pmoA in surface peat layers, which attenuated rapidly with depth, indicating that the highest methane consumption was associated with a depth of 0 to 10 cm. Metagenomes and sequencing of cDNA pmoA amplicons from field samples confirmed that the dominant active methanotrophs were Methylocystis and Methylomonas Although type II methanotrophs have long been shown to mediate methane consumption in peatlands, our results indicate that members of the genera Methylomonas and Methylovulum(type I) can significantly contribute to aerobic methane oxidation in these ecosystems.

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