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Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Vol: 73, No: 2, 2007; Pages:

Diversity of Archaea in Marine Sediments from Skan Bay, Alaska, Including Cultivated Methanogens, and Description of Methanogenium boonei sp. nov.

Melissa M. Kendall,1* George D. Wardlaw,2 Chin F. Tang,1 Adam S. Bonin,1, Yitai Liu,1 and David L. Valentine3

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Department of Microbiology, 5323 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas, TX 75390-9048.


Methanogenesis in cold marine sediments is a globally important process leading to methane hydrate deposits, cold seeps, physical instability of sediment, and atmospheric methane emissions. We employed a multidisciplinary approach that combined culture-dependent and -independent analyses with geochemical measurements in the sediments of Skan Bay, Alaska (53°N, 167°W), to investigate methanogenesis there. Cultivation-independent analyses of the archaeal community revealed that uncultivated microbes of the kingdoms Euryarchaeota and Crenarchaeota are present at Skan Bay and that methanogens constituted a small proportion of the archaeal community. Methanogens were cultivated from depths of 0 to 60 cm in the sediments, and several strains related to the orders Methanomicrobiales and Methanosarcinales were isolated. Isolates were psychrotolerant marine-adapted strains and included an aceticlastic methanogen, strain AK-6, as well as three strains of CO2-reducing methanogens: AK-3, AK7, and AK-8. The phylogenetic positions and physiological characteristics of these strains are described. We propose a new species, Methanogenium boonei, with strain AK-7 as the type strain.

Keywords:MarineSediments;Methanogeniumboonei;Methanogens;EuryarchaeotaCrenarchaeota,Methanomicrobiales ;Methanosarcinales .

Corresponding author: Tel (214) 648-5190. Fax 214-648-5905.

E-mail: melissa.kendall@utsouthwestern.edu


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