High Throughput Sequencing to Detect Differences in Methanotrophic Methylococcaceae and Methylocystaceae in Surface Peat, Forest Soil, and Sphagnum Moss in Cranesville Swamp Preserve, West Virginia, USA.
ABSTRACT: Northern temperate forest soils and Sphagnum-dominated peatlands are a major source and sink of methane. In these ecosystems, methane is mainly oxidized by aerobic methanotrophic bacteria, which are typically found in aerated forest soils, surface peat, and Sphagnum moss. We contrasted methanotrophic bacterial diversity and abundances from the (i) organic horizon of forest soil; (ii) surface peat; and (iii) submerged Sphagnum moss from Cranesville Swamp Preserve, West Virginia, using multiplex sequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA (V3 region) gene amplicons. From ~1 million reads, >50,000 unique OTUs (Operational Taxonomic Units), 29 and 34 unique sequences were detected in the Methylococcaceae and Methylocystaceae, respectively, and 24 potential methanotrophs in the Beijerinckiaceae were also identified. Methylacidiphilum-like methanotrophs were not detected. Proteobacterial methanotrophic bacteria constitute <2% of microbiota in these environments, with the Methylocystaceae one to two orders of magnitude more abundant than the Methylococcaceae in all environments sampled. The Methylococcaceae are also less diverse in forest soil compared to the other two habitats. Nonmetric multidimensional scaling analyses indicated that the majority of methanotrophs from the Methylococcaceae and Methylocystaceae tend to occur in one habitat only (peat or Sphagnum moss) or co-occurred in both Sphagnum moss and peat. This study provides insights into the structure of methanotrophic communities in relationship to habitat type, and suggests that peat and Sphagnum moss can influence methanotroph community structure and biogeography.
Project description:The activity and community structure of methanotrophs in compartmented microcosms were investigated over the growth period of rice plants. In situ methane oxidation was important only during the vegetative growth phase of the plants and later became negligible. The in situ activity was not directly correlated with methanotrophic cell counts, which increased even after the decrease in in situ activity, possibly due to the presence of both vegetative cells and resting stages. By dividing the microcosms into two soil and two root compartments it was possible to locate methanotrophic growth and activity, which was greatest in the rhizoplane of the rice plants. Molecular analysis by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) with family-specific probes revealed the presence of both families of methanotrophs in soil and root compartments over the whole season. Changes in community structure were detected only for members of the Methylococcaceae and could be associated only with changes in the genus Methylobacter and not with changes in the dominance of different genera in the family Methylococcaceae. For the family Methylocystaceae stable communities in all compartments for the whole season were observed. FISH analysis revealed evidence of in situ dominance of the Methylocystaceae in all compartments. The numbers of Methylococcaceae cells were relatively high only in the rhizoplane, demonstrating the importance of rice roots for growth and maintenance of methanotrophic diversity in the soil.
Project description:Sphagnum peatlands are important ecosystems in the methane cycle. Methane-oxidizing bacteria in these ecosystems serve as a methane filter and limit methane emissions. Yet little is known about the diversity and identity of the methanotrophs present in and on Sphagnum mosses of peatlands, and only a few isolates are known. The methanotrophic community in Sphagnum mosses, originating from a Dutch peat bog, was investigated using a pmoA microarray. A high biodiversity of both gamma- and alphaproteobacterial methanotrophs was found. With Sphagnum mosses as the inoculum, alpha- and gammaproteobacterial acidophilic methanotrophs were isolated using established and newly designed media. The 16S rRNA, pmoA, pxmA, and mmoX gene sequences showed that the alphaproteobacterial isolates belonged to the Methylocystis and Methylosinus genera. The Methylosinus species isolated are the first acid-tolerant members of this genus. Of the acidophilic gammaproteobacterial strains isolated, strain M5 was affiliated with the Methylomonas genus, and the other strain, M200, may represent a novel genus, most closely related to the genera Methylosoma and Methylovulum. So far, no acidophilic or acid-tolerant methanotrophs in the Gammaproteobacteria class are known. All strains showed the typical features of either type I or II methanotrophs and are, to the best of our knowledge, the first isolated (acidophilic or acid-tolerant) methanotrophs from Sphagnum mosses.
Project description:Ombrotrophic peatlands are a recognized global carbon reservoir. Without restoration and peat regrowth, harvested peatlands are dramatically altered, impairing their carbon sink function, with consequences for methane turnover. Previous studies determined the impact of commercial mining on the physicochemical properties of peat and the effects on methane turnover. However, the response of the underlying microbial communities catalyzing methane production and oxidation have so far received little attention. We hypothesize that with the return of Sphagnum spp. postharvest, methane turnover potential and the corresponding microbial communities will converge in a natural and restored peatland. To address our hypothesis, we determined the potential methane production and oxidation rates in natural (as a reference), actively mined, abandoned, and restored peatlands over two consecutive years. In all sites, the methanogenic and methanotrophic population sizes were enumerated using quantitative PCR (qPCR) assays targeting the mcrA and pmoA genes, respectively. Shifts in the community composition were determined using Illumina MiSeq sequencing of the mcrA gene and a pmoA-based terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (t-RFLP) analysis, complemented by cloning and sequence analysis of the mmoX gene. Peat mining adversely affected methane turnover potential, but the rates recovered in the restored site. The recovery in potential activity was reflected in the methanogenic and methanotrophic abundances. However, the microbial community composition was altered, being more pronounced for the methanotrophs. Overall, we observed a lag between the recovery of the methanogenic/methanotrophic activity and the return of the corresponding microbial communities, suggesting that a longer duration (>15 years) is needed to reverse mining-induced effects on the methane-cycling microbial communities.IMPORTANCE Ombrotrophic peatlands are a crucial carbon sink, but this environment is also a source of methane, an important greenhouse gas. Methane emission in peatlands is regulated by methane production and oxidation catalyzed by methanogens and methanotrophs, respectively. Methane-cycling microbial communities have been documented in natural peatlands. However, less is known of their response to peat mining and of the recovery of the community after restoration. Mining exerts an adverse impact on potential methane production and oxidation rates and on methanogenic and methanotrophic population abundances. Peat mining also induced a shift in the methane-cycling microbial community composition. Nevertheless, with the return of Sphagnum spp. in the restored site after 15 years, methanogenic and methanotrophic activity and population abundance recovered well. The recovery, however, was not fully reflected in the community composition, suggesting that >15 years are needed to reverse mining-induced effects.
Project description:The mxaF gene, coding for the large (?) subunit of methanol dehydrogenase, is highly conserved among distantly related methylotrophic species in the Alpha-, Beta- and Gammaproteobacteria. It is ubiquitous in methanotrophs, in contrast to other methanotroph-specific genes such as the pmoA and mmoX genes, which are absent in some methanotrophic proteobacterial genera. This study examined the potential for using the mxaF gene as a functional and phylogenetic marker for methanotrophs. mxaF and 16S rRNA gene phylogenies were constructed based on over 100 database sequences of known proteobacterial methanotrophs and other methylotrophs to assess their evolutionary histories. Topology tests revealed that mxaF and 16S rDNA genes of methanotrophs do not show congruent evolutionary histories, with incongruencies in methanotrophic taxa in the Methylococcaceae, Methylocystaceae, and Beijerinckiacea. However, known methanotrophs generally formed coherent clades based on mxaF gene sequences, allowing for phylogenetic discrimination of major taxa. This feature highlights the mxaF gene's usefulness as a biomarker in studying the molecular diversity of proteobacterial methanotrophs in nature. To verify this, PCR-directed assays targeting this gene were used to detect novel methanotrophs from diverse environments including soil, peatland, hydrothermal vent mussel tissues, and methanotroph isolates. The placement of the majority of environmental mxaF gene sequences in distinct methanotroph-specific clades (Methylocystaceae and Methylococcaceae) detected in this study supports the use of mxaF as a biomarker for methanotrophic proteobacteria.
Project description:We investigated the effect of afforestation and reforestation of pastures on methane oxidation and the methanotrophic communities in soils from three different New Zealand sites. Methane oxidation was measured in soils from two pine (Pinus radiata) forests and one shrubland (mainly Kunzea ericoides var. ericoides) and three adjacent permanent pastures. The methane oxidation rate was consistently higher in the pine forest or shrubland soils than in the adjacent pasture soils. A combination of phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) and stable isotope probing (SIP) analyses of these soils revealed that different methanotrophic communities were active in soils under the different vegetations. The C18 PLFAs (signature of type II methanotrophs) predominated under pine and shrublands, and C16 PLFAs (type I methanotrophs) predominated under pastures. Analysis of the methanotrophs by molecular methods revealed further differences in methanotrophic community structure under the different vegetation types. Cloning and sequencing and terminal-restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of the particulate methane oxygenase gene (pmoA) from different samples confirmed the PLFA-SIP results that methanotrophic bacteria related to type II methanotrophs were dominant in pine forest and shrubland, and type I methanotrophs (related to Methylococcus capsulatus) were dominant in all pasture soils. We report that afforestation and reforestation of pastures caused changes in methane oxidation by altering the community structure of methanotrophic bacteria in these soils.
Project description:Methanotrophic bacteria play a major role in the global carbon cycle, degrade xenobiotic pollutants, and have the potential for a variety of biotechnological applications. To facilitate ecological studies of these important organisms, we developed a suite of oligonucleotide probes for quantitative analysis of methanotroph-specific 16S rRNA from environmental samples. Two probes target methanotrophs in the family Methylocystaceae (type II methanotrophs) as a group. No oligonucleotide signatures that distinguish between the two genera in this family, Methylocystis and Methylosinus, were identified. Two other probes target, as a single group, a majority of the known methanotrophs belonging to the family Methylococcaceae (type I/X methanotrophs). The remaining probes target members of individual genera of the Methylococcaceae, including Methylobacter, Methylomonas, Methylomicrobium, Methylococcus, and Methylocaldum. One of the family-level probes also covers all methanotrophic endosymbionts of marine mollusks for which 16S rRNA sequences have been published. The two known species of the newly described genus Methylosarcina gen. nov. are covered by a probe that otherwise targets only members of the closely related genus Methylomicrobium. None of the probes covers strains of the newly proposed genera Methylocella and "Methylothermus," which are polyphyletic with respect to the recognized methanotrophic families. Empirically determined midpoint dissociation temperatures were 49 to 57 degrees C for all probes. In dot blot screening against RNA from positive- and negative-control strains, the probes were specific to their intended targets. The broad coverage and high degree of specificity of this new suite of probes will provide more detailed, quantitative information about the community structure of methanotrophs in environmental samples than was previously available.
Project description:The impact of environmental perturbation (e.g., nitrogenous fertilizers) on the dynamics of methane fluxes from soils and wetland systems is poorly understood. Results of fertilizer studies are often contradictory, even within similar ecosystems. In the present study the hypothesis of whether these contradictory results may be explained by the composition of the methane-consuming microbial community and hence whether methanotrophic diversity affects methane fluxes was investigated. To this end, rice field and forest soils were incubated in microcosms and supplemented with different nitrogenous fertilizers and methane concentrations. By labeling the methane with 13C, diversity and function could be coupled by analyses of phospholipid-derived fatty acids (PLFA) extracted from the soils at different time points during incubation. In both rice field and forest soils, the activity as well as the growth rate of methane-consuming bacteria was affected differentially. For type I methanotrophs, fertilizer application stimulated the consumption of methane and the subsequent growth, while type II methanotrophs were generally inhibited. Terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analyses of the pmoA gene supported the PLFA results. Multivariate analyses of stable-isotope-probing PLFA profiles indicated that in forest and rice field soils, Methylocystis (type II) species were affected by fertilization. The type I methanotrophs active in forest soils (Methylomicrobium/Methylosarcina related) differed from the active species in rice field soils (Methylobacter/Methylomonas related). Our results provide a case example showing that microbial community structure indeed matters, especially when assessing and predicting the impact of environmental change on biodiversity loss and ecosystem functioning.
Project description:Biological nitrogen fixation is an important source of bioavailable nitrogen in Sphagnum dominated peatlands. Sphagnum mosses harbor a diverse microbiome including nitrogen-fixing and methane (CH4) oxidizing bacteria. The inhibitory effect of oxygen on microbial nitrogen fixation is documented for many bacteria. However, the role of nitrogen-fixing methanotrophs in nitrogen supply to Sphagnum peat mosses is not well explored. Here, we investigated the role of both oxygen and methane on nitrogen fixation in subarctic Sphagnum peat mosses. Five species of Sphagnum mosses were sampled from two mesotrophic and three oligotrophic sites within the Lakkasuo peatland in Orivesi, central Finland. Mosses were incubated under either ambient or low oxygen conditions in the presence or absence of methane. Stable isotope activity assays revealed considerable nitrogen-fixing and methane-assimilating rates at all sites (1.4?±?0.2 µmol 15N-N2 g-1 DW day-1 and 12.0?±?1.1 µmol 13C-CH4 g-1 DW day-1, respectively). Addition of methane did not stimulate incorporation of 15N-nitrogen into biomass, whereas oxygen depletion increased the activity of the nitrogen-fixing community. Analysis of the 16S rRNA genes at the bacterial community level showed a very diverse microbiome that was dominated by Alphaproteobacteria in all sites. Bona fide methane-oxidizing taxa were not very abundant (relative abundance less than 0.1%). Based on our results we conclude that methanotrophs did not contribute significantly to nitrogen fixation in the investigated peatlands.
Project description:Methane oxidation in soils is mostly accomplished by methanotrophic bacteria. Little is known about the abundance of methanotrophs in soils, since quantification by cultivation and microscopic techniques is cumbersome. Comparison of 16S ribosomal DNA and pmoA (alpha subunit of the particulate methane monooxygenase) phylogenetic trees showed good correlation and revealed five distinct groups of methanotrophs within the alpha and gamma subclasses of Proteobacteria: the Methylococcus group, the Methylobacter/Methylosarcina group, the Methylosinus group, the Methylocapsa group, and the forest clones group (a cluster of pmoA sequences retrieved from forest soils). We developed quantitative real-time PCR assays with SybrGreen for each of these five groups and for all methanotrophic bacteria by targeting the pmoA gene. Detection limits were between 10(1) and 10(2) target molecules per reaction for all assays. Real-time PCR analysis of soil samples spiked with cells of Methylococcus capsulatus, Methylomicrobium album, and Methylosinus trichosporium recovered almost all the added bacteria. Only the Methylosinus-specific assay recovered only 20% of added cells, possibly due to a lower lysis efficiency of type II methanotrophs. Analysis of the methanotrophic community structure in a flooded rice field soil showed (5.0 +/- 1.4) x 10(6) pmoA molecules g(-1) for all methanotrophs. The Methylosinus group was predominant (2.7 x 10(6) +/- 1.1 x 10(6) target molecules g(-1)). In addition, bacteria of the Methylobacter/Methylosarcina group were abundant (2.0 x 10(6) +/- 0.9 x 10(6) target molecules g of soil(-1)). On the other hand, pmoA affiliated with the forest clones and the Methylocapsa group was below the detection limit of 1.9 x 10(4) target molecules g of soil(-1). Our results showed that pmoA-targeted real-time PCR allowed fast and sensitive quantification of the five major groups of methanotrophs in soil. This approach will thus be useful for quantitative analysis of the community structure of methanotrophs in nature.
Project description:The genus Methylocystis belongs to the class Alphaproteobacteria, the family Methylocystaceae, and encompasses aerobic methanotrophic bacteria with the serine pathway of carbon assimilation. All Methylocystis species are able to fix dinitrogen and several members of this genus are also capable of using acetate or ethanol in the absence of methane, which explains their wide distribution in various habitats. One additional trait that enables their survival in the environment is possession of two methane-oxidizing isozymes, the conventional particulate methane monooxygenase (pMMO) with low-affinity to substrate (pMMO1) and the high-affinity enzyme (pMMO2). Here, we report the finished genome sequence of Methylocystis bryophila S285, a pMMO2-possessing methanotroph from a Sphagnum-dominated wetland, and compare it to the genome of Methylocystis sp. strain SC2, which is the first methanotroph with confirmed high-affinity methane oxidation potential. The complete genome of Methylocystis bryophila S285 consists of a 4.53?Mb chromosome and one plasmid, 175?kb in size. The genome encodes two types of particulate MMO (pMMO1 and pMMO2), soluble MMO and, in addition, contains a pxmABC-like gene cluster similar to that present in some gammaproteobacterial methanotrophs. The full set of genes related to the serine pathway, the tricarboxylic acid cycle as well as the ethylmalonyl-CoA pathway is present. In contrast to most described methanotrophs including Methylocystis sp. strain SC2, two different types of nitrogenases, that is, molybdenum-iron and vanadium-iron types, are encoded in the genome of strain S285. This unique combination of genome-based traits makes Methylocystis bryophila well adapted to the fluctuation of carbon and nitrogen sources in wetlands.