Archaea catalyze iron-dependent anaerobic oxidation of methane
SourceProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 113, 45, (2016), pp. 12792-12796
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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA
Anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) is crucial for controlling the emission of this potent greenhouse gas to the atmosphere. Nitrite-, nitrate-, and sulfate-dependent methane oxidation is well-documented, but AOM coupled to the reduction of oxidized metals has so far been demonstrated only in environmental samples. Here, using a freshwater enrichment culture, we show that archaea of the order Methanosarcinales, related to "Candidatus Methanoperedens nitroreducens," couple the reduction of environmentally relevant forms of Fe3+ and Mn4+ to the oxidation of methane. We obtained an enrichment culture of these archaea under anaerobic, nitrate-reducing conditions with a continuous supply of methane. Via batch incubations using [13C]methane, we demonstrated that soluble ferric iron (Fe3+, as Fe-citrate) and nanoparticulate forms of Fe3+ and Mn4+ supported methane-oxidizing activity. CO2 and ferrous iron (Fe2+) were produced in stoichiometric amounts. Our study connects the previous finding of iron-dependent AOM to microorganisms detected in numerous habitats worldwide. Consequently, it enables a better understanding of the interaction between the biogeochemical cycles of iron and methane.
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