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An Anaerobic Methane-Oxidizing Community of ANME-1b Archaea in Hypersaline Gulf of Mexico Sediments▿

American Society for Microbiology
Publication Date
  • Geomicrobiology
  • Chemistry
  • Earth Science


Sediments overlying a brine pool methane seep in the Gulf of Mexico (Green Canyon 205) were analyzed using molecular and geochemical approaches to identify geochemical controls on microbial community composition and stratification. 16S rRNA gene and rRNA clone libraries, as well as mcrA gene clone libraries, showed that the archaeal community consists predominantly of ANME-1b methane oxidizers; no archaea of other ANME subgroups were found with general and group-specific PCR primers. The ANME-1b community was found in the sulfate-methane interface, where undersaturated methane concentrations of ca. 100 to 250 μM coexist with sulfate concentrations around 10 mM. Clone libraries of dsrAB genes and bacterial 16S rRNA genes show diversified sulfate-reducing communities within and above the sulfate-methane interface. Their phylogenetic profiles and occurrence patterns are not linked to ANME-1b populations, indicating that electron donors other than methane, perhaps petroleum-derived hydrocarbons, drive sulfate reduction. The archaeal component of anaerobic oxidation of methane is comprised of an active population of mainly ANME-1b in this hypersaline sediment.

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