Mar 29, 2019

Anaerobic oxidation of ethane by archaea from a marine hydrocarbon seep

Nature
Song-Can ChenFlorin Musat

Abstract

Ethane is the second most abundant component of natural gas in addition to methane, and-similar to methane-is chemically unreactive. The biological consumption of ethane under anoxic conditions was suggested by geochemical profiles at marine hydrocarbon seeps1-3, and through ethane-dependent sulfate reduction in slurries4-7. Nevertheless, the microorganisms and reactions that catalyse this process have to date remained unknown8. Here we describe ethane-oxidizing archaea that were obtained by specific enrichment over ten years, and analyse these archaea using phylogeny-based fluorescence analyses, proteogenomics and metabolite studies. The co-culture, which oxidized ethane completely while reducing sulfate to sulfide, was dominated by an archaeon that we name 'Candidatus Argoarchaeum ethanivorans'; other members were sulfate-reducing Deltaproteobacteria. The genome of Ca. Argoarchaeum contains all of the genes that are necessary for a functional methyl-coenzyme M reductase, and all subunits were detected in protein extracts. Accordingly, ethyl-coenzyme M (ethyl-CoM) was identified as an intermediate by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. This indicated that Ca. Argoarchaeum initiates ethane oxidation by ethyl-CoM for...Continue Reading

Mentioned in this Paper

Biological Markers
Alkanes
Study
Sulfates, Inorganic
Butanal Dehydrogenase Activity
UGT1A7 wt Allele
Aquatic Organisms
Sulfides
Genome
Methyl coenzyme M

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