Anaerobic Degradation of Non-Methane Alkanes by “Candidatus Methanoliparia” in Hydrocarbon Seeps of the Gulf of Mexico


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Gunter.Wegener [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

Crude oil and gases in the seabed provide an important energy source for subsurface microorganisms. We investigated the role of archaea in the anaerobic degradation of non-methane alkanes in deep-sea oil seeps from the Gulf of Mexico. We identified microscopically the ethane and short-chain alkane oxidizers “Candidatus Argoarchaeum” and “Candidatus Syntrophoarchaeum” forming consortia with bacteria. Moreover, we found that the sediments contain large numbers of cells from the archaeal clade “Candidatus Methanoliparia,” which was previously proposed to perform methanogenic alkane degradation. “Ca. Methanoliparia” occurred abundantly as single cells attached to oil droplets in sediments without apparent bacterial or archaeal partners. Metagenome-assembled genomes of “Ca. Methanoliparia” encode a complete methanogenesis pathway including a canonical methyl-coenzyme M reductase (MCR) but also a highly divergent MCR related to those of alkane-degrading archaea and pathways for the oxidation of long-chain alkyl units. Its metabolic genomic potential and its global detection in hydrocarbon reservoirs suggest that “Ca. Methanoliparia” is an important methanogenic alkane degrader in subsurface environments, producing methane by alkane disproportionation as a single organism.



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ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
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Published
Eprint ID
51181
DOI 10.1128/mBio.01814-19

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Laso-Perez, R. , Hahn, C. , van Vliet, D. , Tegetmeyer, H. E. , Schubotz, F. , Smit, N. , Pape, T. , Sahling, H. , Bohrmann, G. , Boetius, A. , Knittel, K. and Wegener, G. (2019): Anaerobic Degradation of Non-Methane Alkanes by “Candidatus Methanoliparia” in Hydrocarbon Seeps of the Gulf of Mexico , mBio . doi: 10.1128/mBio.01814-19


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