Evidence of active methanogen communities in shallow sediments of the Sonora Margin cold seeps

In the Sonora Margin cold seep ecosystems (Gulf of California), sediments underlying microbial mats harbor high biogenic methane concentrations, fueling various microbial communities, such as abundant lineages of anaerobic methanotrophs (ANME). However, the biodiversity, distribution, and metabolism of the microorganisms producing this methane remain poorly understood. In this study, measurements of methanogenesis using radiolabeled dimethylamine, bicarbonate, and acetate showed that biogenic methane production in these sediments was mainly dominated by methylotrophic methanogenesis, while the proportion of autotrophic methanogenesis increased with depth. Congruently, methane production and methanogenic Archaea were detected in culture enrichments amended with trimethylamine and bicarbonate. Analyses of denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) fingerprinting and reverse-transcribed PCR-amplified 16S rRNA sequences retrieved from these enrichments revealed the presence of active methylotrophic Methanococcoides burtonii relatives and several new autotrophic Methanogenium lineages, confirming the cooccurrence of Methanosarcinales and Methanomicrobiales methanogens with abundant ANME populations in the sediments of the Sonora Margin cold seeps.

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Vigneron Adrien, L Haridon Stephane, Godfroy Anne, Roussel Erwan, Cragg Barry A., Parkes R. John, Toffin Laurent (2015). Evidence of active methanogen communities in shallow sediments of the Sonora Margin cold seeps. Applied And Environmental Microbiology. 81 (10). 3451-3459. https://doi.org/10.1128/AEM.00147-15, https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00256/36737/

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