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Biogeochemical Evidence that Thermophilic Archaea Mediate the Anaerobic Oxidation of Methane

Authors
  • Stefan Schouten
  • Stuart G. Wakeham
  • Ellen C. Hopmans
  • Jaap S. Sinninghe Damsté
Publisher
American Society for Microbiology
Publication Date
Mar 01, 2003
Source
PMC
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Earth Science
  • Ecology
  • Geography
License
Unknown

Abstract

Distributions and isotopic analyses of lipids from sediment cores at a hydrothermally active site in the Guaymas Basin with a steep sedimentary temperature gradient revealed the presence of archaea that oxidize methane anaerobically. The presence of strongly 13C-depleted lipids at greater depths in the sediments suggests that microbes involved in anaerobic oxidation of methane are present and presumably active at environmental temperatures of >30°C, indicating that this process can occur not only at cold seeps but also at hydrothermal sites. The distribution of the membrane tetraether lipids of the methanotrophic archaea shows that these organisms have adapted their membrane composition to these high environmental temperatures.

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