AEROBIC OXIDATION OF METHANE AND ETHANE BY UNCONVENTIONAL MICROBES AT A TERRESTRIAL METHANE SEEP IN SICILY, ITALY
N.T. Smit, D. Rush, M. Van der Meer, F. Grassa, L. Villanueva, J. Sinninghe Damsté and S. Schouten
Event name: 29th International Meeting on Organic Geochemistry
Session: Plenary V
Publication date: 04 September 2019
Info: Extended abstract, PDF ( 118.47Kb )
In natural terrestrial hydrocarbon seeps, microbes can act effectively as microbial filters to oxidize methane and higher gaseous hydrocarbons (ethane, propane and butane) into CO2. Here, we investigated the lipid inventory of soils from a natural terrestrial gas seep named Fuoco di Censo in southern Sicily, Italy and performed 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing and stable isotope probing (SIP) with 13C-labeled methane and ethane. Our study shows that unusual methylated fatty acids (one to five additional methyl groups) characteristic for mycobacteria, mycocerosic acids, may be potential biomarkers for gaseous hydrocarbon oxidation in terrestrial environments. Beside mycobacteria, conventional methanotrophs like alpha- and gammaproteobacteria are involved in methane and ethane oxidation at terrestrial gas seeps.