Comparative analysis of methane-oxidizing archaea and sulfate-reducing bacteria in anoxic marine sediments.
ABSTRACT: The oxidation of methane in anoxic marine sediments is thought to be mediated by a consortium of methane-consuming archaea and sulfate-reducing bacteria. In this study, we compared results of rRNA gene (rDNA) surveys and lipid analyses of archaea and bacteria associated with methane seep sediments from several different sites on the Californian continental margin. Two distinct archaeal lineages (ANME-1 and ANME-2), peripherally related to the order Methanosarcinales, were consistently associated with methane seep marine sediments. The same sediments contained abundant (13)C-depleted archaeal lipids, indicating that one or both of these archaeal groups are members of anaerobic methane-oxidizing consortia. (13)C-depleted lipids and the signature 16S rDNAs for these archaeal groups were absent in nearby control sediments. Concurrent surveys of bacterial rDNAs revealed a predominance of delta-proteobacteria, in particular, close relatives of Desulfosarcina variabilis. Biomarker analyses of the same sediments showed bacterial fatty acids with strong (13)C depletion that are likely products of these sulfate-reducing bacteria. Consistent with these observations, whole-cell fluorescent in situ hybridization revealed aggregations of ANME-2 archaea and sulfate-reducing Desulfosarcina and Desulfococcus species. Additionally, the presence of abundant (13)C-depleted ether lipids, presumed to be of bacterial origin but unrelated to ether lipids of members of the order Desulfosarcinales, suggests the participation of additional bacterial groups in the methane-oxidizing process. Although the Desulfosarcinales and ANME-2 consortia appear to participate in the anaerobic oxidation of methane in marine sediments, our data suggest that other bacteria and archaea are also involved in methane oxidation in these environments.
Project description:The hydrothermal sediments of Guaymas Basin, an active spreading center in the Gulf of California (Mexico), are rich in porewater methane, short-chain alkanes, sulfate and sulfide, and provide a model system to explore habitat preferences of microorganisms, including sulfate-dependent, methane- and short chain alkane-oxidizing microbial communities. In this study, hot sediments (above 60°C) covered with sulfur-oxidizing microbial mats surrounding a hydrothermal mound (termed "Mat Mound") were characterized by porewater geochemistry of methane, C2-C6 short-chain alkanes, sulfate, sulfide, sulfate reduction rate measurements, in situ temperature gradients, bacterial and archaeal 16S rRNA gene clone libraries and V6 tag pyrosequencing. The most abundantly detected groups in the Mat mound sediments include anaerobic methane-oxidizing archaea of the ANME-1 lineage and its sister clade ANME-1Guaymas, the uncultured bacterial groups SEEP-SRB2 within the Deltaproteobacteria and the separately branching HotSeep-1 Group; these uncultured bacteria are candidates for sulfate-reducing alkane oxidation and for sulfate-reducing syntrophy with ANME archaea. The archaeal dataset indicates distinct habitat preferences for ANME-1, ANME-1-Guaymas, and ANME-2 archaea in Guaymas Basin hydrothermal sediments. The bacterial groups SEEP-SRB2 and HotSeep-1 co-occur with ANME-1 and ANME-1Guaymas in hydrothermally active sediments underneath microbial mats in Guaymas Basin. We propose the working hypothesis that this mixed bacterial and archaeal community catalyzes the oxidation of both methane and short-chain alkanes, and constitutes a microbial community signature that is characteristic for hydrothermal and/or cold seep sediments containing both substrates.
Project description:Microbial communities in hydrothermally active sediments of the Guaymas Basin (Gulf of California, Mexico) were studied by using 16S rRNA sequencing and carbon isotopic analysis of archaeal and bacterial lipids. The Guaymas sediments harbored uncultured euryarchaeota of two distinct phylogenetic lineages within the anaerobic methane oxidation 1 (ANME-1) group, ANME-1a and ANME-1b, and of the ANME-2c lineage within the Methanosarcinales, both previously assigned to the methanotrophic archaea. The archaeal lipids in the Guaymas Basin sediments included archaeol, diagnostic for nonthermophilic euryarchaeota, and sn-2-hydroxyarchaeol, with the latter compound being particularly abundant in cultured members of the Methanosarcinales. The concentrations of these compounds were among the highest observed so far in studies of methane seep environments. The delta-(13)C values of these lipids (delta-(13)C = -89 to -58 per thousand) indicate an origin from anaerobic methanotrophic archaea. This molecular-isotopic signature was found not only in samples that yielded predominantly ANME-2 clones but also in samples that yielded exclusively ANME-1 clones. ANME-1 archaea therefore remain strong candidates for mediation of the anaerobic oxidation of methane. Based on 16S rRNA data, the Guaymas sediments harbor phylogenetically diverse bacterial populations, which show considerable overlap with bacterial populations of geothermal habitats and natural or anthropogenic hydrocarbon-rich sites. Consistent with earlier observations, our combined evidence from bacterial phylogeny and molecular-isotopic data indicates an important role of some novel deeply branching bacteria in anaerobic methanotrophy. Anaerobic methane oxidation likely represents a significant and widely occurring process in the trophic ecology of methane-rich hydrothermal vents. This study stresses a high diversity among communities capable of anaerobic oxidation of methane.
Project description:The consumption of methane in anoxic marine sediments is a biogeochemical phenomenon mediated by two archaeal groups (ANME-1 and ANME-2) that exist syntrophically with sulfate-reducing bacteria. These anaerobic methanotrophs have yet to be recovered in pure culture, and key aspects of their ecology and physiology remain poorly understood. To characterize the growth and physiology of these anaerobic methanotrophs and the syntrophic sulfate-reducing bacteria, we incubated marine sediments using an anoxic, continuous-flow bioreactor during two experiments at different advective porewater flow rates. We examined the growth kinetics of anaerobic methanotrophs and Desulfosarcina-like sulfate-reducing bacteria using quantitative PCR as a proxy for cell counts, and measured methane oxidation rates using membrane-inlet mass spectrometry. Our data show that the specific growth rates of ANME-1 and ANME-2 archaea differed in response to porewater flow rates. ANME-2 methanotrophs had the highest rates in lower-flow regimes (mu(ANME-2) = 0.167 . week(-1)), whereas ANME-1 methanotrophs had the highest rates in higher-flow regimes (mu(ANME-1) = 0.218 . week(-1)). In both incubations, Desulfosarcina-like sulfate-reducing bacterial growth rates were approximately 0.3 . week(-1), and their growth dynamics suggested that sulfate-reducing bacterial growth might be facilitated by, but not dependent upon, an established anaerobic methanotrophic population. ANME-1 growth rates corroborate field observations that ANME-1 archaea flourish in higher-flow regimes. Our growth and methane oxidation rates jointly demonstrate that anaerobic methanotrophs are capable of attaining substantial growth over a range of environmental conditions used in these experiments, including relatively low methane partial pressures.
Project description:In this study we investigated by using 16S rRNA-based methods the distribution and biomass of archaea in samples from (i) sediments above outcropping methane hydrate at Hydrate Ridge (Cascadia margin off Oregon) and (ii) massive microbial mats enclosing carbonate reefs (Crimea area, Black Sea). The archaeal diversity was low in both locations; there were only four (Hydrate Ridge) and five (Black Sea) different phylogenetic clusters of sequences, most of which belonged to the methanotrophic archaea (ANME). ANME group 2 (ANME-2) sequences were the most abundant and diverse sequences at Hydrate Ridge, whereas ANME-1 sequences dominated the Black Sea mats. Other seep-specific sequences belonged to the newly defined group ANME-3 (related to Methanococcoides spp.) and to the Crenarchaeota of marine benthic group B. Quantitative analysis of the samples by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) showed that ANME-1 and ANME-2 co-occurred at the cold seep sites investigated. At Hydrate Ridge the surface sediments were dominated by aggregates consisting of ANME-2 and members of the Desulfosarcina-Desulfococcus branch (DSS) (ANME-2/DSS aggregates), which accounted for >90% of the total cell biomass. The numbers of ANME-1 cells increased strongly with depth; these cells accounted 1% of all single cells at the surface and more than 30% of all single cells (5% of the total cells) in 7- to 10-cm sediment horizons that were directly above layers of gas hydrate. In the Black Sea microbial mats ANME-1 accounted for about 50% of all cells. ANME-2/DSS aggregates occurred in microenvironments within the mat but accounted for only 1% of the total cells. FISH probes for the ANME-2a and ANME-2c subclusters were designed based on a comparative 16S rRNA analysis. In Hydrate Ridge sediments ANME-2a/DSS and ANME-2c/DSS aggregates differed significantly in morphology and abundance. The relative abundance values for these subgroups were remarkably different at Beggiatoa sites (80% ANME-2a, 20% ANME-2c) and Calyptogena sites (20% ANME-2a, 80% ANME-2c), indicating that there was preferential selection of the groups in the two habitats. These variations in the distribution, diversity, and morphology of methanotrophic consortia are discussed with respect to the presence of microbial ecotypes, niche formation, and biogeography.
Project description:Anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) in marine sediments is an important global methane sink, but the physiological characteristics of AOM-associated microorganisms remain poorly understood. Here we report the cultivation of an AOM microbial community from deep-sea methane-seep sediment using a continuous-flow bioreactor with polyurethane sponges, called the down-flow hanging sponge (DHS) bioreactor. We anaerobically incubated deep-sea methane-seep sediment collected from the Nankai Trough, Japan, for 2,013 days in the bioreactor at 10°C. Following incubation, an active AOM activity was confirmed by a tracer experiment using 13C-labeled methane. Phylogenetic analyses demonstrated that phylogenetically diverse Archaea and Bacteria grew in the bioreactor. After 2,013 days of incubation, the predominant archaeal components were anaerobic methanotroph (ANME)-2a, Deep-Sea Archaeal Group, and Marine Benthic Group-D, and Gammaproteobacteria was the dominant bacterial lineage. Fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis showed that ANME-1 and -2a, and most ANME-2c cells occurred without close physical interaction with potential bacterial partners. Our data demonstrate that the DHS bioreactor system is a useful system for cultivating fastidious methane-seep-associated sedimentary microorganisms.
Project description:The potential for microbial nitrogen fixation in the anoxic methane seep sediments in a mud volcano, the number 8 Kumano Knoll, was characterized by molecular phylogenetic analyses. A total of 111 of the nifH (a gene coding a nitrogen fixation enzyme, Fe protein) clones were obtained from different depths of the core sediments, and the phylogenetic analysis of the clones indicated the genetic diversity of nifH genes. The predominant group detected (methane seep group 2), representing 74% of clonal abundance, was phylogenetically related to the nifH sequences obtained from the Methanosarcina species but was most closely related to the nifH sequences potentially derived from the anoxic methanotrophic archaea (ANME-2 archaea). The recovery of the nif gene clusters including the nifH sequences of the methane seep group 2 and the subsequent reverse transcription-PCR detection of the nifD and nifH genes strongly suggested that the genetic components of the gene clusters would be operative for the in situ assimilation of molecular nitrogen (N(2)) by the host microorganisms. DNA-based quantitative PCR of the archaeal 16S rRNA gene, the group-specific mcrA (a gene encoding the methyl-coenzyme M reductase alpha subunit) gene, and the nifD and nifH genes demonstrated the similar distribution patterns of the archaeal 16S rRNA gene, the mcrA groups c-d and e, and the nifD and nifH genes through the core sediments. These results supported the idea that the anoxic methanotrophic archaea ANME-2c could be the microorganisms hosting the nif gene clusters and could play an important role in not only the in situ carbon (methane) cycle but also the nitrogen cycle in subseafloor sediments.
Project description:In marine sediments the anaerobic oxidation of methane with sulfate as electron acceptor (AOM) is responsible for the removal of a major part of the greenhouse gas methane. AOM is performed by consortia of anaerobic methane-oxidizing archaea (ANME) and their specific partner bacteria. The physiology of these organisms is poorly understood, which is due to their slow growth with doubling times in the order of months and the phylogenetic diversity in natural and in vitro AOM enrichments. Here we study sediment-free long-term AOM enrichments that were cultivated from seep sediments sampled off the Italian Island Elba (20°C; hereon called E20) and from hot vents of the Guaymas Basin, Gulf of California, cultivated at 37°C (G37) or at 50°C (G50). These enrichments were dominated by consortia of ANME-2 archaea and Seep-SRB2 partner bacteria (E20) or by ANME-1, forming consortia with Seep-SRB2 bacteria (G37) or with bacteria of the HotSeep-1 cluster (G50). We investigate lipid membrane compositions as possible factors for the different temperature affinities of the different ANME clades and show autotrophy as characteristic feature for both ANME clades and their partner bacteria. Although in the absence of additional substrates methane formation was not observed, methanogenesis from methylated substrates (methanol and methylamine) could be quickly stimulated in the E20 and the G37 enrichment. Responsible for methanogenesis are archaea from the genus Methanohalophilus and Methanococcoides, which are minor community members during AOM (1-7‰ of archaeal 16S rRNA gene amplicons). In the same two cultures also sulfur disproportionation could be quickly stimulated by addition of zero-valent colloidal sulfur. The isolated partner bacteria are likewise minor community members (1-9‰ of bacterial 16S rRNA gene amplicons), whereas the dominant partner bacteria (Seep-SRB1a, Seep-SRB2, or HotSeep-1) did not grow on elemental sulfur. Our results support a functioning of AOM as syntrophic interaction of obligate methanotrophic archaea that transfer non-molecular reducing equivalents (i.e., via direct interspecies electron transfer) to obligate sulfate-reducing partner bacteria. Additional katabolic processes in these enrichments but also in sulfate methane interfaces are likely performed by minor community members.
Project description:Sediments overlying a brine pool methane seep in the Gulf of Mexico (Green Canyon 205) were analyzed using molecular and geochemical approaches to identify geochemical controls on microbial community composition and stratification. 16S rRNA gene and rRNA clone libraries, as well as mcrA gene clone libraries, showed that the archaeal community consists predominantly of ANME-1b methane oxidizers; no archaea of other ANME subgroups were found with general and group-specific PCR primers. The ANME-1b community was found in the sulfate-methane interface, where undersaturated methane concentrations of ca. 100 to 250 microM coexist with sulfate concentrations around 10 mM. Clone libraries of dsrAB genes and bacterial 16S rRNA genes show diversified sulfate-reducing communities within and above the sulfate-methane interface. Their phylogenetic profiles and occurrence patterns are not linked to ANME-1b populations, indicating that electron donors other than methane, perhaps petroleum-derived hydrocarbons, drive sulfate reduction. The archaeal component of anaerobic oxidation of methane is comprised of an active population of mainly ANME-1b in this hypersaline sediment.
Project description:Methane release from seafloor sediments is moderated, in part, by the anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) performed by consortia of archaea and bacteria. These consortia occur as isolated cells and aggregates within the sulfate-methane transition (SMT) of diffusion and seep-dominant environments. Here we report on a new SMT setting where the AOM consortium occurs as macroscopic pink to orange biofilms within subseafloor fractures. Biofilm samples recovered from the Indian and northeast Pacific Oceans had a cellular abundance of 10(7) to 10(8) cells cm(-3). This cell density is 2 to 3 orders of magnitude greater than that in the surrounding sediments. Sequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA genes indicated that the bacterial component is dominated by Deltaproteobacteria, candidate division WS3, and Chloroflexi, representing 46%, 15%, and 10% of clones, respectively. In addition, major archaeal taxa found in the biofilm were related to the ANME-1 clade, Thermoplasmatales, and Desulfurococcales, representing 73%, 11%, and 10% of archaeal clones, respectively. The sequences of all major taxa were similar to sequences previously reported from cold seep environments. PhyloChip microarray analysis detected all bacterial phyla identified by the clone library plus an additional 44 phyla. However, sequencing detected more archaea than the PhyloChip within the phyla of Methanosarcinales and Desulfurococcales. The stable carbon isotope composition of the biofilm from the SMT (-35 to -43‰) suggests that the production of the biofilm is associated with AOM. These biofilms are a novel, but apparently widespread, aggregation of cells represented by the ANME-1 clade that occur in methane-rich marine sediments.
Project description:The anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) is a key biogeochemical process regulating methane emission from marine sediments into the hydrosphere. AOM is largely mediated by consortia of anaerobic methanotrophic archaea (ANME) and sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB), and has mainly been investigated in deep-sea sediments. Here we studied methane seepage at four spots located at 12 m water depth in coastal, organic carbon depleted permeable sands off the Island of Elba (Italy). We combined biogeochemical measurements, sequencing-based community analyses and in situ hybridization to investigate the microbial communities of this environment. Increased alkalinity, formation of free sulfide and nearly stoichiometric methane oxidation and sulfate reduction rates up to 200 nmol g(-1) day(-1) indicated the predominance of sulfate-coupled AOM. With up to 40 cm thickness the zones of AOM activity were unusually large and occurred in deeper sediment horizons (20-50 cm below seafloor) as compared to diffusion-dominated deep-sea seeps, which is likely caused by advective flow of pore water due to the shallow water depth and permeability of the sands. Hydrodynamic forces also may be responsible for the substantial phylogenetic and unprecedented morphological diversity of AOM consortia inhabiting these sands, including the clades ANME-1a/b, ANME-2a/b/c, ANME-3, and their partner bacteria SEEP-SRB1a and SEEP-SRB2. High microbial dispersal, the availability of diverse energy sources and high habitat heterogeneity might explain that the emission spots shared few microbial taxa, despite their physical proximity. Although the biogeochemistry of this shallow methane seep was very different to that of deep-sea seeps, their key functional taxa were very closely related, which supports the global dispersal of key taxa and underlines strong selection by methane as the predominant energy source. Mesophilic, methane-fueled ecosystems in shallow-water permeable sediments may comprise distinct microbial habitats due to their unique biogeochemical and physical characteristics. To link AOM phylotypes with seep habitats and to enable future meta-analyses we thus propose that seep environment ontology needs to be further specified.