Methane oxidation

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Anaerobic methane oxidation is an enigmatic process that was first discovered in 1974. The current research focuses mainly on the in situ oxidation of methane in marine sediments. With strong emphasis on the geochemistry and geobiology. The possible coupling of the process of Anaerobic Methane Oxidation (AOM) to the process of Sulfate Reduction (SR) provides industrial applications and solving questions regarding AOM and SR can be helpful in the research on carbon and sulfur cycles in pelagic an benthic environments. Methane rising up from sediments at so called "methane vents" is an excellent source of finding the organisms responsible for the oxidation of methane. Recent research also found organisms capable of AOM in fresh water environments. The recent publication of the first evidence of anaerobic methane oxidation coupled to nitrate reduction is a promising event which stimulates the research for AOM coupled to sulfate reduction.

 

The picture below is an example of a consortia of sulfate reducing bacteria and methane oxidizing Archaea. These pictures are made by using a technique called "Fluorescent in Situ Hybridization" (FISH). The organisms in red represent the anaerobic methanotrophic Archaea (ANME) and the green organisms are the sulfate reducing bacteria (SRB).

ANME2/DSS consortia from the Black Sea,

Picture made by C. Jagersma at the Max Planck Insitute Bremen.

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