Beyond nitrogen: the importance of phosphorus for CH4 oxidation in soils and sediments

A.J. Veraart, A.K. Steenbergh, A. Ho, S.Y. Kim, P.L.E. Bodelier

Onderzoeksoutput: Bijdrage aan wetenschappelijk tijdschrift/periodieke uitgaveArtikelWetenschappelijkpeer review

84 Citaten (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Wetlands, lakes and agricultural soils are important sources and sinks of the greenhouse gas methane. The only known methane sink of biological nature is the oxidation by methanotrophic microorganisms, these organisms therefore provide an important ecosystem service. To protect this ecosystem service, it is important to maintain methanotrophic microorganism diversity, especially under increased anthropogenically-induced environmental pressures, such as imbalanced input of nutrients to ecosystems. There is therefore an urgent need to understand how N and P affect the structure and activity of methane oxidizing communities. Numerous research studies have already shown variable effects of N-addition on methane oxidation: small additions tend to stimulate methane oxidation, whereas large additions are inhibitory. There is however still a large knowledge gap concerning effects of P on methane oxidation. Here, we present data on the relation between methane oxidation and various measures of P in 50 drainage ditches, and summarize literature reporting relations between P and methane oxidation in wetlands and soils. Additionally, we review experiments on effects of P, N and N + P addition on both low affinity and high affinity methane oxidation. In our set of drainage ditches, as well as studies on wetland and permafrost soils, P content is positively correlated to methane oxidation, though it also co-correlates with many other variables. However, results from P-additions in rice paddies, agricultural soils, landfills, peat bogs, permafrost soils and forests were more variable: sometimes inhibiting (2 studies), other times stimulating methane oxidation (4 studies), and sometimes showing no effect (5 studies). Two studies report increased methanotroph (pmoA) abundance following P-fertilization, but little is known about effects of P on methanotroph community structure and its consequences for methane consumption. By mining methanotrophic genomes for genes involved in N and P-related processes, we demonstrate that variability in N/P related traits (influencing acquisition, uptake and metabolism) does not reflect DNA-based phylogeny. This review points to a need for better mechanistic understanding of the effects of P on methane oxidation, and the role of traits of methanotrophic community members in regulating this process
Originele taal-2Engels
Pagina's (van-tot)337-346
Nummer van het tijdschriftDecember
Vroegere onlinedatum14 apr. 2015
StatusGepubliceerd - 2015


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