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      Mass wasting, methane venting, and biological communities on the Mendocino transform fault

      , , , ,
      Geology
      Geological Society of America

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          Methane-consuming archaea revealed by directly coupled isotopic and phylogenetic analysis.

          Microorganisms living in anoxic marine sediments consume more than 80% of the methane produced in the world's oceans. In addition to single-species aggregates, consortia of metabolically interdependent bacteria and archaea are found in methane-rich sediments. A combination of fluorescence in situ hybridization and secondary ion mass spectrometry shows that cells belonging to one specific archaeal group associated with the Methanosarcinales were all highly depleted in 13C (to values of -96 per thousand). This depletion indicates assimilation of isotopically light methane into specific archaeal cells. Additional microbial species apparently use other carbon sources, as indicated by significantly higher 13C/12C ratios in their cell carbon. Our results demonstrate the feasibility of simultaneous determination of the identity and the metabolic activity of naturally occurring microorganisms.
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            A marine microbial consortium apparently mediating anaerobic oxidation of methane.

            A large fraction of globally produced methane is converted to CO2 by anaerobic oxidation in marine sediments. Strong geochemical evidence for net methane consumption in anoxic sediments is based on methane profiles, radiotracer experiments and stable carbon isotope data. But the elusive microorganisms mediating this reaction have not yet been isolated, and the pathway of anaerobic oxidation of methane is insufficiently understood. Recent data suggest that certain archaea reverse the process of methanogenesis by interaction with sulphate-reducing bacteria. Here we provide microscopic evidence for a structured consortium of archaea and sulphate-reducing bacteria, which we identified by fluorescence in situ hybridization using specific 16S rRNA-targeted oligonucleotide probes. In this example of a structured archaeal-bacterial symbiosis, the archaea grow in dense aggregates of about 100 cells and are surrounded by sulphate-reducing bacteria. These aggregates were abundant in gas-hydrate-rich sediments with extremely high rates of methane-based sulphate reduction, and apparently mediate anaerobic oxidation of methane.
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              Field and laboratory studies of methane oxidation in an anoxic marine sediment: Evidence for a methanogen-sulfate reducer consortium

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Geology
                Geol
                Geological Society of America
                0091-7613
                2002
                2002
                : 30
                : 5
                : 407
                Article
                10.1130/0091-7613(2002)030<0407:MWMVAB>2.0.CO;2
                bc88d9c8-5607-45ec-8ed0-fbaf4cfdbfe2
                © 2002
                History

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