Most of the methane (CH4) emission from rice fields is derived from plant photosynthates, which are converted to CH4. Rice cluster I (RC-1) archaea colonizing the rhizosphere were found to be the methanogens responsible for this process. Hence, RC-1 methanogens seem to play a crucial role in emission of the greenhouse gas CH4. We determined the community composition and activity of methanogens colonizing the roots of eight different rice cultivars after growth on both Italian rice soil and river bank soil, which contained different communities of methanogenic archaea. The community composition was analyzed by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism and cloning/sequencing of the archaeal 16S rRNA gene and the mcrA gene coding for a subunit of the methyl coenzyme M reductase. When grown on rice field soil, the methanogenic community of the different rice cultivars was always dominated by RC-1 methanogens. In contrast, roots were colonized by Methanomicrobiales when grown on river bank soil, in which RC-1 methanogens were initially not detectable. Roots colonized with Methanomicrobiales compared with RC-1 exhibited lower CH4 production and CH4 emission rates. The results show that the type of methanogens colonizing rice roots has a potentially important impact on the global CH4 cycle.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Journal publication date2008

ID: 216124