High-affinity methane oxidation by a soil enrichment culture containing a type II methanotroph.
Methanotrophic bacteria in an organic soil were enriched on gaseous mixing ratios of <275 parts per million of volume (ppmv) of methane (CH4). After 4 years of growth and periodic dilution (>10(20) times the initial soil inoculum), a mixed culture was obtained which displayed an apparent half-saturation constant [Km(app)] for CH4 of 56 to 186 nM (40 to 132 ppmv). This value was the same as that measured in the soil itself and about 1 order of magnitude lower than reported values for pure cultures of methane oxidizers. However, the Km(app) increased when the culture was transferred to higher mixing ratios of CH4 (1,000 ppmv, or 1%). Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis of the enrichment grown on <275 ppmv of CH4 revealed a single gene product of pmoA, which codes for a subunit of particulate methane monooxygenase. This suggested that only one methanotroph species was present. This organism was isolated from a sample of the enrichment culture grown on 1% CH4 and phylogenetically positioned based on its 16S rRNA, pmoA, and mxaF gene sequences as a type II strain of the Methylocystis/Methylosinus group. A coculture of this strain with a Variovorax sp., when grown on <275 ppmv of CH4, had a Km(app) (129 to 188 nM) similar to that of the initial enrichment culture. The data suggest that the affinity of methanotrophic bacteria for CH4 varies with growth conditions and that the oxidation of atmospheric CH4 observed in this soil is carried out by type II methanotrophic bacteria which are similar to characterized species. (+info
Immobilization patterns and dynamics of acetate-utilizing methanogens immobilized in sterile granular sludge in upflow anaerobic sludge blanket reactors.
Sterile granular sludge was inoculated with either Methanosarcina mazeii S-6, Methanosaeta concilii GP-6, or both species in acetate-fed upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactors to investigate the immobilization patterns and dynamics of aceticlastic methanogens in granular sludge. After several months of reactor operation, the methanogens were immobilized, either separately or together. The fastest immobilization was observed in the reactor containing M. mazeii S-6. The highest effluent concentration of acetate was observed in the reactor with only M. mazeii S-6 immobilized, while the lowest effluent concentration of acetate was observed in the reactor where both types of methanogens were immobilized together. No changes were observed in the kinetic parameters (Ks and mumax) of immobilized M. concilii GP-6 or M. mazeii S-6 compared with suspended cultures, indicating that immobilization does not affect the growth kinetics of these methanogens. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay using polyclonal antibodies against either M. concilii GP-6 or M. mazeii S-6 showed significant variations in the two methanogenic populations in the different reactors. Polyclonal antibodies were further used to study the spatial distribution of the two methanogens. M. concilii GP-6 was immobilized only on existing support material without any specific pattern. M. mazeii S-6, however, showed a different immobilization pattern: large clumps were formed when the concentration of acetate was high, but where the acetate concentration was low this strain was immobilized on support material as single cells or small clumps. The data clearly show that the two aceticlastic methanogens immobilize differently in UASB systems, depending on the conditions found throughout the UASB reactor. (+info
Anaerobic degradation of phthalate isomers by methanogenic consortia.
Three methanogenic enrichment cultures, grown on ortho-phthalate, iso-phthalate, or terephthalate were obtained from digested sewage sludge or methanogenic granular sludge. Cultures grown on one of the phthalate isomers were not capable of degrading the other phthalate isomers. All three cultures had the ability to degrade benzoate. Maximum specific growth rates (microseconds max) and biomass yields (YXtotS) of the mixed cultures were determined by using both the phthalate isomers and benzoate as substrates. Comparable values for these parameters were found for all three cultures. Values for microseconds max and YXtotS were higher for growth on benzoate compared to the phthalate isomers. Based on measured and estimated values for the microbial yield of the methanogens in the mixed culture, specific yields for the phthalate and benzoate fermenting organisms were calculated. A kinetic model, involving three microbial species, was developed to predict intermediate acetate and hydrogen accumulation and the final production of methane. Values for the ratio of the concentrations of methanogenic organisms, versus the phthalate isomer and benzoate fermenting organisms, and apparent half-saturation constants (KS) for the methanogens were calculated. By using this combination of measured and estimated parameter values, a reasonable description of intermediate accumulation and methane formation was obtained, with the initial concentration of phthalate fermenting organisms being the only variable. The energetic efficiency for growth of the fermenting organisms on the phthalate isomers was calculated to be significantly smaller than for growth on benzoate. (+info
The role of benzoate in anaerobic degradation of terephthalate.
The effects of acetate, benzoate, and periods without substrate on the anaerobic degradation of terephthalate (1, 4-benzene-dicarboxylate) by a syntrophic methanogenic culture were studied. The culture had been enriched on terephthalate and was capable of benzoate degradation without a lag phase. When incubated with a mixture of benzoate and terephthalate, subsequent degradation with preference for benzoate was observed. Both benzoate and acetate inhibited the anaerobic degradation of terephthalate. The observed inhibition is partially irreversible, resulting in a decrease (or even a complete loss) of the terephthalate-degrading activity after complete degradation of benzoate or acetate. Irreversible inhibition was characteristic for terephthalate degradation only because the inhibition of benzoate degradation by acetate could well be described by reversible noncompetitive product inhibition. Terephthalate degradation was furthermore irreversibly inhibited by periods without substrate of only a few hours. The inhibition of terephthalate degradation due to periods without substrate could be overcome through incubation of the culture with a mixture of benzoate and terephthalate. In this case no influence of a period without substrate was observed. Based on these observations it is postulated that decarboxylation of terephthalate, resulting in the formation of benzoate, is strictly dependent on the concomitant fermentation of benzoate. In the presence of higher concentrations of benzoate, however, benzoate is the favored substrate over terephthalate, and the culture loses its ability to degrade terephthalate. In order to overcome the inhibition of terephthalate degradation by benzoate and acetate, a two-stage reactor system is suggested for the treatment of wastewater generated during terephthalic acid production. (+info
Nitrate removal in closed-system aquaculture by columnar denitrification.
The columnar denitrification method of nitrate-nitrogen removal from high-density, closed system, salmonid aquaculture was investigated and found to be feasible. However, adequate chemical monitoring was found to be necessary for the optimization and quality control of this method. When methanol-carbon was not balanced with inlet nitrate-nitrogen, the column effluent became unsatisfactory for closed-system fish culture due to the presence of excess amounts of nitrite, ammonia, sulfide, and dissolved organic carbon. Sulfide production was also influenced by column maturity and residence time. Methane-carbon was found to be unsatisfactory as an exogenous carbon source. Endogenous carbon could not support high removal efficiencies. Freshwater columns adpated readily to an artificial seawater with a salinity of 18% without observable inhibition. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that the bacterial flora was mainly rod forms with the Peritricha (protozoa) dominating as the primary consumers. Denitrifying bacteria isolated from freshwater columns were tentatively identified as species of Pseudomonas and Alcaligenes. A pilot plant column was found to behave in a manner similar to the laboratory columns except that nitrite production was never observed. (+info
Potential effects of gas hydrate on human welfare.
For almost 30 years. serious interest has been directed toward natural gas hydrate, a crystalline solid composed of water and methane, as a potential (i) energy resource, (ii) factor in global climate change, and (iii) submarine geohazard. Although each of these issues can affect human welfare, only (iii) is considered to be of immediate importance. Assessments of gas hydrate as an energy resource have often been overly optimistic, based in part on its very high methane content and on its worldwide occurrence in continental margins. Although these attributes are attractive, geologic settings, reservoir properties, and phase-equilibria considerations diminish the energy resource potential of natural gas hydrate. The possible role of gas hydrate in global climate change has been often overstated. Although methane is a "greenhouse" gas in the atmosphere, much methane from dissociated gas hydrate may never reach the atmosphere, but rather may be converted to carbon dioxide and sequestered by the hydrosphere/biosphere before reaching the atmosphere. Thus, methane from gas hydrate may have little opportunity to affect global climate change. However, submarine geohazards (such as sediment instabilities and slope failures on local and regional scales, leading to debris flows, slumps, slides, and possible tsunamis) caused by gas-hydrate dissociation are of immediate and increasing importance as humankind moves to exploit seabed resources in ever-deepening waters of coastal oceans. The vulnerability of gas hydrate to temperature and sea level changes enhances the instability of deep-water oceanic sediments, and thus human activities and installations in this setting can be affected. (+info
Effects of nickel and cobalt on kinetics of methanol conversion by methanogenic sludge as assessed by on-line CH4 monitoring.
When metals were added in a pulse mode to methylotrophic-methanogenic biomass, three methane production rate phases were recognized. Increased concentrations of Ni and Co accelerated the initial exponential and final arithmetic increases in the methane production rate and reduced the temporary decrease in the rate. When Ni and Co were added continuously, the temporary decrease phase was eliminated and the exponential production rate increased. We hypothesize that the temporary decrease in the methane production rate and the final arithmetic increase in the methane production rate were due to micronutrient limitations and that the precipitation-dissolution kinetics of metal sulfides may play a key role in the biovailability of these compounds. (+info
Microbial oxidation of methane and methanol: isolation of methane-utilizing bacteria and characterization of a facultative methane-utilizing isolate.
A methane-utilizing organism capable of growth both on methane and on more complex organic substrates as a sole source of carbon and energy, has been isolated and studied in detail. Suspensions of methane-grown cells of this organism oxidized C-1 compounds (methane, methanol, formaldehyde, formate); hydrocarbons (ethane, propane); primary alcohols (ethanol, propanol); primary aldehydes (acetaldehyde, propionaldehyde); alkenes (ethylene, propylene); dimethylether; and organic acids (acetate, malate, succinate, isocitrate). Suspensions of methanol-or succinate-grown cells did not oxidize methane, ethane, propane, ethylene, propylene, or dimethylether, suggesting that the enzymatic systems required for oxidation of these substrates are induced only during growth on methane. Extracts of methane-grown cells contained a particulate reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide-dependent methane monooxygenase activity. Oxidation of methanol, formaldehyde, and primary alcohols was catalyzed by a phenazine methosulfate-linked, ammonium ion-requiring methanol dehydrogenase. Oxidation of primary aldehydes was catalyzed by a phenazine methosulfate-linked, ammonium ion-independent aldehyde dehydrogenase. Formate was oxidized by a nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide-specific formate dehydrogenase. Extracts of methane-grown, but not succinate-grown, cells contained the key enzymes of the serine pathway, hydroxypyruvate reductase and malate lyase, indicating that the enzymes of C-1 assimilation are induced only during growth on C-1 compounds. Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase was induced during growth on glucose. Extracts of methane-grown cells contained low levels of enzymes of the tricarboxylic acid cycle, including alpha-keto glutarate dehydrogenase, relative to the levels found during growth on succinate. (+info