Compost as a vector for the introduction of methanotrophic bacteria in agricultural soils: effects on atmospheric methane uptake

Activity: Talk or presentationAcademic


Methane (CH4) is a potent greenhouse gas contributing to global climate change, with a global warming potential of 24x of CO2 on a 100-year time-frame. More importantly, the atmospheric methane concentration has been rising rapidly in the last decade. Soils are as yet the only known biological sink for atmospheric methane, but the methane uptake capacity of agricultural soils is substantially reduced when compared to native soils. It has been shown in lab conditions that the use of organic amendments like compost can enhance the atmospheric methane uptake of agricultural soils. In this study, we did an extensive field study on the occurrence of this residue-stimulated atmospheric methane uptake by visiting various long-term agricultural field sites with ongoing organic amendment application in the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland, and Dutch composting companies producing the three dominantly used types of compost in the Netherlands. We showed that organic residue-amended soils have a shorter lag phase in laboratory incubations, i.e., the methanotrophic community in these soils becomes active more quickly, and these soils have an overall higher methane uptake rate in laboratory incubations. More importantly, an extensive molecular analysis showed that the methanotrophic species dominantly present in compost, are significantly enriched in the methanotrophic communities of organic residue-amended soils. Future research will focus on the role and activity of these introduced methanotrophic bacteria in the soil. In conclusion, the use of organic amendments like compost can steer the methanotrophic community of agricultural soils via the introduction of compost-originating methanotrophic bacteria, whilst improving the activity of the methanotrophic community in laboratory incubations.
Period22 Jun 2022
Degree of RecognitionInternational