Field-scale tracking of active methane-oxidizing communities in a landfill-cover soil reveals spatial and seasonal variability

R. Henneberger, E. Chiri, P.L.E. Bodelier, P. Frenzel, C. Luke, M.H. Schroth

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Aerobic methane-oxidizing bacteria (MOB) in soils mitigate methane (CH4) emissions. We assessed spatial and seasonal differences in active MOB communities in a landfill cover soil characterized by highly variable environmental conditions. Field-based measurements of CH4 oxidation activity and stable-isotope probing of polar lipid-derived fatty acids (PLFA-SIP) were complemented by microarray analysis of pmoA genes and transcripts, linking diversity and function at the field scale. In situ CH4 oxidation rates varied between sites and were generally one order of magnitude lower in winter compared with summer. Results from PLFA-SIP and pmoA transcripts were largely congruent, revealing distinct spatial and seasonal clustering. Overall, active MOB communities were highly diverse. Type Ia MOB, specifically Methylomonas and Methylobacter, were key drivers for CH4 oxidation, particularly at a high-activity site. Type II MOB were mainly active at a site showing substantial fluctuations in CH4 loading and soil moisture content. Notably, Upland Soil Cluster-gamma-related pmoA transcripts were also detected, indicating concurrent oxidation of atmospheric CH4. Spatial separation was less distinct in winter, with Methylobacter and uncultured MOB mediating CH4 oxidation. We propose that high diversity of active MOB communities in this soil is promoted by high variability in environmental conditions, facilitating substantial removal of CH4 generated in the waste body.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1721-1737
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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