Anaerobic methanotrophic (ANME) archaea have recently been reported to be capable of using insoluble extracellular electron acceptors via extracellular electron transfer (EET). In this study, we investigated EET by a microbial community dominated by “Candidatus Methanoperedens” archaea at the anode of a bioelectrochemical system (BES) poised at 0 V vs. standard hydrogen electrode (SHE), in this way measuring current as a direct proxy of EET by this community. After inoculation of the BES, the maximum current density was 274 mA m–2 (stable current up to 39 mA m–2). Concomitant conversion of 13CH4 into 13CO2 demonstrated that current production was methane-dependent, with 38% of the current attributed directly to methane supply. Based on the current production and methane uptake in a closed system, the Coulombic efficiency was about 17%. Polarization curves demonstrated that the current was limited by microbial activity at potentials above 0 V. The metatranscriptome of the inoculum was mined for the expression of c-type cytochromes potentially used for EET, which led to the identification of several multiheme c-type cytochrome-encoding genes among the most abundant transcripts in “Ca. Methanoperedens.” Our study provides strong indications of EET in ANME archaea and describes a system in which ANME-mediated EET can be investigated under laboratory conditions, which provides new research opportunities for mechanistic studies and possibly the generation of axenic ANME cultures.
SummaryMicroorganisms are main drivers of the sulfur, nitrogen and carbon biogeochemical cycles. These elemental cycles are interconnected by the activity of different guilds in sediments or wastewater treatment systems. Here, we investigated a nitrate‐reducing microbial community in a laboratory‐scale bioreactor model that closely mimicked estuary or brackish sediment conditions. The bioreactor simultaneously consumed sulfide, methane and ammonium at the expense of nitrate. Ammonium oxidation occurred solely by the activity of anammox bacteria identified as Candidatus Scalindua brodae and Ca. Kuenenia stuttgartiensis. Fifty‐three percent of methane oxidation was catalyzed by archaea affiliated to Ca. Methanoperedens and 47% by Ca. Methylomirabilis bacteria. Sulfide oxidation was mainly shared between two proteobacterial groups. Interestingly, competition for nitrate did not lead to exclusion of one particular group. Metagenomic analysis showed that the most abundant taxonomic group was distantly related to Thermodesulfovibrio sp. (87–89% 16S rRNA gene identity, 52–54% average amino acid identity), representing a new family within the Nitrospirae phylum. A high quality draft genome of the new species was recovered, and analysis showed high metabolic versatility. Related microbial groups are found in diverse environments with sulfur, nitrogen and methane cycling, indicating that these novel Nitrospirae bacteria might contribute to biogeochemical cycling in natural habitats.
The high-quality draft genome of “
Methanoperedens sp.” strain BLZ2, a nitrate-reducing archaeon anaerobically oxidizing methane, is presented. The genome was obtained from an enrichment culture and measures 3.74 Mb. It harbors two nitrate reductase gene clusters, an ammonium-forming nitrite reductase, and the complete reverse methanogenesis pathway. Methane that escapes to the atmosphere acts as a potent greenhouse gas. Global methane emissions are mitigated by methanotrophs, which oxidize methane to CO
Methanoperedens spp.” are unique methanotrophic archaea that can perform nitrate-dependent anaerobic oxidation of methane. A high-quality draft genome sequence of only 85 contigs from this archaeon is presented here.