Methane-fuelled biofilms predominantly composed of methanotrophic ANME-1 in Arctic gas hydrate-related sediments
AuthorGründger, Friederike; Carrier, Vincent; Svenning, Mette Marianne; Panieri, Giuliana; Vonnahme, Tobias R.; Klasek, Scott; Niemann, Helge
Sedimentary biofilms comprising microbial communities mediating the anaerobic oxidation of methane are rare. Here, we describe two biofilm communities discovered in sediment cores recovered from Arctic cold seep sites (gas hydrate pingos) in the north-western Barents Sea, characterized by steady methane fluxes. We found macroscopically visible biofilms in pockets in the sediment matrix at the depth of the sulphate-methane-transition zone. 16S rRNA gene surveys revealed that the microbial community in one of the two biofilms comprised exclusively of putative anaerobic methanotrophic archaea of which ANME-1 was the sole archaeal taxon. The bacterial community consisted of relatives of sulphate-reducing bacteria (SRB) belonging to uncultured Desulfobacteraceae clustering into SEEP-SRB1 (i.e. the typical SRB associated to ANME-1), and members of the atribacterial JS1 clade. Confocal laser scanning microscopy demonstrates that this biofilm is composed of multicellular strands and patches of ANME-1 that are loosely associated with SRB cells, but not tightly connected in aggregates. Our discovery of methanotrophic biofilms in sediment pockets closely associated with methane seeps constitutes a hitherto overlooked and potentially widespread sink for methane and sulphate in marine sediments.
Source at https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-46209-5.