Mar 29, 2019

Anaerobic oxidation of ethane by archaea from a marine hydrocarbon seep

Song-Can ChenFlorin Musat


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
Sulfates, Inorganic
Butanal Dehydrogenase Activity
UGT1A7 wt Allele
Aquatic Organisms
Methyl coenzyme M

Related Feeds


Recent advances in genomic sequencing has led to the discovery of new strains of Archaea and shed light on their evolutionary history. Discover the latest research on Archaeogenetics here.