1932

Abstract

Methane is the most abundant hydrocarbon in the atmosphere, and it is an important greenhouse gas, which has so far contributed an estimated 20% of postindustrial global warming. A great deal of biogeochemical research has focused on the causes and effects of the variation in global fluxes of methane throughout earth's history, but the underlying microbial processes and their key agents remain poorly understood. This is a disturbing knowledge gap because 85% of the annual global methane production and about 60% of its consumption are based on microbial processes. Only three key functional groups of microorganisms of limited diversity regulate the fluxes of methane on earth, namely the aerobic methanotrophic bacteria, the methanogenic archaea, and their close relatives, the anaerobic methanotrophic archaea (ANME). The ANME represent special lines of descent within the Euryarchaeota and appear to gain energy exclusively from the anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM), with sulfate as the final electron acceptor according to the net reaction:

This review summarizes what is known and unknown about AOM on earth and its key catalysts, the ANME clades and their bacterial partners.

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.micro.61.080706.093130
2009-10-13
2024-05-26
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.micro.61.080706.093130
Loading
/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.micro.61.080706.093130
Loading

Data & Media loading...

Supplementary Data

  • Article Type: Review Article
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error