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Changes in methanogenic substrate utilization and communities with depth in a salt-marsh, creek sediment in southern England

Parkes, Ronald John, Brock, Fiona, Banning, Natasha C., Hornibrook, Edward R. C., Roussel, Erwan George Philippe, Weightman, Andrew John ORCID: and Fry, John Christopher 2012. Changes in methanogenic substrate utilization and communities with depth in a salt-marsh, creek sediment in southern England. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 96 (1) , pp. 170-178. 10.1016/j.ecss.2011.10.025

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A combined biogeochemical and molecular genetic study of creek sediments (down to 65 cm depth) from Arne Peninsula salt-marsh (Dorset, UK) determined the substrates used for methanogenesis and the distribution of the common methanogens, Methanosarcinales and Methanomicrobiales capable of metabolising these substrates. Methane concentrations increased by 11 cm, despite pore water sulphate not being removed until 45 cm. Neither upward methane diffusion or anaerobic oxidation of methane seemed to be important in this zone. In the near-surface sulphate-reduction zone (5–25 cm) turnover time to methane for the non-competitive methanogenic substrate trimethylamine was most rapid (80 days), and were much longer for acetate (7900 days), methanol (40,500 days) and bicarbonate (361,600 days). Methylamine-utilizing Methanosarcinales were the dominant (60–95%) methanogens in this zone. In deeper sediments rates of methanogenesis from competitive substrates increased substantially, with acetate methanogenic rates becoming ∼100 times greater than H2/CO2 methanogenesis below 50 cm. In addition, there was a dramatic change in methanogen diversity with obligate acetate-utilizing, Methanosaeta related sequences being dominant. At a similar depth methanol turnover to methane increased to its most rapid (1700 days). This activity pattern is consistent with deeper methanogen populations (55 cm) being dominated by acetate-utilizing Methanosaeta with H2/CO2 and alcohol-utilizing Methanomicrobiales also present. Hence, there is close relationship between the depth distribution of methanogenic substrate utilization and specific methanogens that can utilize these compounds. It is unusual for acetate to be the dominant methanogenic substrate in coastal sediments and δ13C-CH4 values (−74 to −71‰) were atypical for acetate methanogenesis, suggesting that common stable isotope proxy models may not apply well in this type of dynamic anoxic sediment, with multiple methanogenic substrates.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QR Microbiology
Uncontrolled Keywords: methanogenesis; methanogenic substrates; salt-marsh sediments; methanogens; methane; δ13C-CH4 values
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0272-7714
Funders: NERC
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2022 14:00

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