Reactivation of deep subsurface microbial community in response to methane or methanol amendment

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4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Microbial communities in deep subsurface environments comprise a large portion of Earth's biomass, but the microbial activity in these habitats is largely unknown. Here, we studied how microorganisms from two isolated groundwater fractures at 180 and 500 m depths of the Outokumpu Deep Drillhole (Finland) responded to methane or methanol amendment, in the presence or absence of sulfate as an additional electron acceptor. Methane is a plausible intermediate in the deep subsurface carbon cycle, and electron acceptors such as sulfate are critical components for oxidation processes. In fact, the majority of the available carbon in the Outokumpu deep biosphere is present as methane. Methanol is an intermediate of methane oxidation, but may also be produced through degradation of organic matter. The fracture fluid samples were incubated in vitro with methane or methanol in the presence or absence of sulfate as electron acceptor. The metabolic response of microbial communities was measured by staining the microbial cells with fluorescent redox sensitive dye combined with flow cytometry, and DNA or cDNA-derived amplicon sequencing. The microbial community of the fracture zone at the 180 m depth was originally considerably more respiratory active and 10-fold more numerous (105 cells ml-1 at 180 m depth and 104 cells ml-1 at 500 m depth) than the community of the fracture zone at the 500 m. However, the dormant microbial community at the 500 m depth rapidly reactivated their transcription and respiration systems in the presence of methane or methanol, whereas in the shallower fracture zone only a small sub-population was able to utilize the newly available carbon source. In addition, the composition of substrate activated microbial communities differed at both depths from original microbial communities. The results demonstrate that OTUs representing minor groups of the total microbial communities play an important role when microbial communities face changes in environmental conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberArticle 431
Pages (from-to)431
Number of pages1
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Volume8
Issue numberMarch
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fingerprint

Methane
Methanol
Sulfates
Electrons
Carbon
Carbon Cycle
Groundwater
Finland
Biomass
Oxidation-Reduction
Ecosystem
Flow Cytometry
Respiration
Coloring Agents
Complementary DNA
Staining and Labeling
DNA
Population

Keywords

  • deep biosphere
  • deep life
  • carbon
  • methane
  • methanol
  • methanotrophy

Cite this

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abstract = "Microbial communities in deep subsurface environments comprise a large portion of Earth's biomass, but the microbial activity in these habitats is largely unknown. Here, we studied how microorganisms from two isolated groundwater fractures at 180 and 500 m depths of the Outokumpu Deep Drillhole (Finland) responded to methane or methanol amendment, in the presence or absence of sulfate as an additional electron acceptor. Methane is a plausible intermediate in the deep subsurface carbon cycle, and electron acceptors such as sulfate are critical components for oxidation processes. In fact, the majority of the available carbon in the Outokumpu deep biosphere is present as methane. Methanol is an intermediate of methane oxidation, but may also be produced through degradation of organic matter. The fracture fluid samples were incubated in vitro with methane or methanol in the presence or absence of sulfate as electron acceptor. The metabolic response of microbial communities was measured by staining the microbial cells with fluorescent redox sensitive dye combined with flow cytometry, and DNA or cDNA-derived amplicon sequencing. The microbial community of the fracture zone at the 180 m depth was originally considerably more respiratory active and 10-fold more numerous (105 cells ml-1 at 180 m depth and 104 cells ml-1 at 500 m depth) than the community of the fracture zone at the 500 m. However, the dormant microbial community at the 500 m depth rapidly reactivated their transcription and respiration systems in the presence of methane or methanol, whereas in the shallower fracture zone only a small sub-population was able to utilize the newly available carbon source. In addition, the composition of substrate activated microbial communities differed at both depths from original microbial communities. The results demonstrate that OTUs representing minor groups of the total microbial communities play an important role when microbial communities face changes in environmental conditions.",
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Reactivation of deep subsurface microbial community in response to methane or methanol amendment. / Rajala, Pauliina; Bomberg, Malin.

In: Frontiers in Microbiology, Vol. 8, No. March, Article 431, 17.03.2017, p. 431.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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T1 - Reactivation of deep subsurface microbial community in response to methane or methanol amendment

AU - Rajala, Pauliina

AU - Bomberg, Malin

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N2 - Microbial communities in deep subsurface environments comprise a large portion of Earth's biomass, but the microbial activity in these habitats is largely unknown. Here, we studied how microorganisms from two isolated groundwater fractures at 180 and 500 m depths of the Outokumpu Deep Drillhole (Finland) responded to methane or methanol amendment, in the presence or absence of sulfate as an additional electron acceptor. Methane is a plausible intermediate in the deep subsurface carbon cycle, and electron acceptors such as sulfate are critical components for oxidation processes. In fact, the majority of the available carbon in the Outokumpu deep biosphere is present as methane. Methanol is an intermediate of methane oxidation, but may also be produced through degradation of organic matter. The fracture fluid samples were incubated in vitro with methane or methanol in the presence or absence of sulfate as electron acceptor. The metabolic response of microbial communities was measured by staining the microbial cells with fluorescent redox sensitive dye combined with flow cytometry, and DNA or cDNA-derived amplicon sequencing. The microbial community of the fracture zone at the 180 m depth was originally considerably more respiratory active and 10-fold more numerous (105 cells ml-1 at 180 m depth and 104 cells ml-1 at 500 m depth) than the community of the fracture zone at the 500 m. However, the dormant microbial community at the 500 m depth rapidly reactivated their transcription and respiration systems in the presence of methane or methanol, whereas in the shallower fracture zone only a small sub-population was able to utilize the newly available carbon source. In addition, the composition of substrate activated microbial communities differed at both depths from original microbial communities. The results demonstrate that OTUs representing minor groups of the total microbial communities play an important role when microbial communities face changes in environmental conditions.

AB - Microbial communities in deep subsurface environments comprise a large portion of Earth's biomass, but the microbial activity in these habitats is largely unknown. Here, we studied how microorganisms from two isolated groundwater fractures at 180 and 500 m depths of the Outokumpu Deep Drillhole (Finland) responded to methane or methanol amendment, in the presence or absence of sulfate as an additional electron acceptor. Methane is a plausible intermediate in the deep subsurface carbon cycle, and electron acceptors such as sulfate are critical components for oxidation processes. In fact, the majority of the available carbon in the Outokumpu deep biosphere is present as methane. Methanol is an intermediate of methane oxidation, but may also be produced through degradation of organic matter. The fracture fluid samples were incubated in vitro with methane or methanol in the presence or absence of sulfate as electron acceptor. The metabolic response of microbial communities was measured by staining the microbial cells with fluorescent redox sensitive dye combined with flow cytometry, and DNA or cDNA-derived amplicon sequencing. The microbial community of the fracture zone at the 180 m depth was originally considerably more respiratory active and 10-fold more numerous (105 cells ml-1 at 180 m depth and 104 cells ml-1 at 500 m depth) than the community of the fracture zone at the 500 m. However, the dormant microbial community at the 500 m depth rapidly reactivated their transcription and respiration systems in the presence of methane or methanol, whereas in the shallower fracture zone only a small sub-population was able to utilize the newly available carbon source. In addition, the composition of substrate activated microbial communities differed at both depths from original microbial communities. The results demonstrate that OTUs representing minor groups of the total microbial communities play an important role when microbial communities face changes in environmental conditions.

KW - deep biosphere

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