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Microbiological and environmental significance of metal-dependent anaerobic oxidation of methane

He, Zhanfei, Zhang, Qingying, Feng, Yudong, Luo, Hongwei, Pan, Xiangliang, Gadd, Geoffrey Michael
The Science of the total environment 2018 v.610-611 pp. 759-768
hydrogen, iron, manganese, methane, methane production, methanotrophs, minerals, nitrates, nitrites, oxidation, sulfates
Anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) can be coupled to the reduction of sulfate, nitrate and nitrite, which effectively reduces methane emission into the atmosphere. Recently, metal-dependent AOM (metal-AOM, AOM coupled to metal reduction) was demonstrated to occur in both environmental samples and enrichment cultures. Anaerobic methanotrophs are capable of respiration using Fe(III) or Mn(IV), whether they are in the form of soluble metal species or insoluble minerals. Given the wide distribution of Fe(III)/Mn(IV)-bearing minerals in aquatic methane-rich environments, metal-AOM is considered to be globally important, although it has generally been overlooked in previous studies. In this article, we discuss the discovery of this process, the microorganisms and mechanisms involved, environmental significance and factors influencing metal-AOM. Since metal-AOM is poorly studied to date, some discussion is included on the present understanding of sulfate- and nitrate-AOM and traditional metal reduction processes using organic substrates or hydrogen as electron donors. Metal-AOM is a relatively new research field, and therefore more studies are needed to fully characterize the process. This review summarizes current studies and discusses the many unanswered questions, which should be useful for future research in this field.