New way of methane formation in the oceanfloor discovered
May 7, 2019
The warming of our atmosphere is driven by climate-relevant trace gases such as methane. Methane is produced, for example, in ocean sediments. Here, archaea, which are unicellular microorganisms, produce methane during metabolism. They are therefore also called methanogenic archaea. An international team has investigated samples from Helgoland mud area and discovered a new way of methane formation from methyl groups. During this so-called methylotrophic methane formation, the gas is not only formed from methyl groups, for example methanol, but also from carbon dioxide. The newly discovered pathway is relevant to understand the source of direct precursors for methanogenesis in sediments. The team, led by Prof. Michael Friedrich and Dr. Marcus Elvert from the MARUM - Center for Marine Environmental Sciences at the University of Bremen, has now published its results in The ISME Journal.
Xiuran Yin, Weichao Wu, Mara Maeke, Tim Richter-Heitmann, Ajinkya C. Kulkarni, Oluwatobi E. Oni, Jenny Wendt, Marcus Elvert and Michael W. Friedrich: CO2 conversion to methane and biomass in obligate methylotrophic methanogens in marine sediments. The ISME Journal April 2019. DOI: 10.1038/s41396-019-0425-9