Trace methane oxidation and the methane dependency of sulfate reduction in anaerobic granular sludge

Roel J.W. Meulepas, Christian G. Jagersma, Yu Zhang, Michele Petrillo, Hengzhe Cai, Cees J.N. Buisman, Alfons J.M. Stams, Piet N.L. Lens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


This study investigates the oxidation of labeled methane (CH4) and the CH4 dependence of sulfate reduction in three types of anaerobic granular sludge. In all samples, 13C-labeled CH4 was anaerobically oxidized to 13C-labeled CO2, while net endogenous CH4 production was observed. Labeled-CH4 oxidation rates followed CH4 production rates, and the presence of sulfate hampered both labeled-CH4 oxidation and methanogenesis. Labeled-CH4 oxidation was therefore linked to methanogenesis. This process is referred to as trace CH4 oxidation and has been demonstrated in methanogenic pure cultures. This study shows that the ratio between labeled-CH4 oxidation and methanogenesis is positively affected by the CH4 partial pressure and that this ratio is in methanogenic granular sludge more than 40 times higher than that in pure cultures of methanogens. The CH4 partial pressure also positively affected sulfate reduction and negatively affected methanogenesis: a repression of methanogenesis at elevated CH4 partial pressures confers an advantage to sulfate reducers that compete with methanogens for common substrates, formed from endogenous material. The oxidation of labeled CH 4 and the CH4 dependence of sulfate reduction are thus not necessarily evidence of anaerobic oxidation of CH4 coupled to sulfate reduction. © 2010 Federation of European Microbiological Societies.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-271
Number of pages11
JournalFEMS Microbiology Ecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: This work was part of the Anaerobic Methane Oxidation forSulfate Reduction project (AMethOx for SuRe, numberEETK03044) supported by the Dutch ministries of Economicalaffairs, Education, culture and science and Environmentand special planning as part their EET (Economie, Ecologie,Technologie) program. The research was cofunded by KingAbdullah University of Science and Technology through theSOWACOR project.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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