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Characterization of specific membrane fatty acids as chemotaxonomic markers for sulfate-reducing bacteria involved in anaerobic oxidation of methane

MPS-Authors
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Elvert,  M.
Department of Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Boetius,  A.
HGF MPG Joint Research Group for Deep Sea Ecology & Technology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Knittel,  K.
Department of Molecular Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Jørgensen,  B. B.
Department of Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Elvert, M., Boetius, A., Knittel, K., & Jørgensen, B. B. (2003). Characterization of specific membrane fatty acids as chemotaxonomic markers for sulfate-reducing bacteria involved in anaerobic oxidation of methane. Geomicrobiology Journal, 20(4), 403-419.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-D213-C
Abstract
Membrane fatty acids were extracted from a sediment core above marine gas hydrates at Hydrate Ridge, NE Pacific. Anaerobic sediments from this environment are characterized by high sulfate reduction rates driven by the anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM). The assimilation of methane carbon into bacterial biomass is indicated by carbon isotope values of specific fatty acids as low as m 103. Specific fatty acids released from bacterial membranes include C 16:1 y 5c , C 17:1 y 6c , and cyC 17:0 y 5,6 , all of which have been fully characterized by mass spectrometry. These unusual fatty acids continuously display the lowest i 13 C values in all sediment horizons and two of them are detected in high abundance (i.e., C 16:1 y 5c and cyC 17:0 y 5,6 ). Combined with microscopic examination by fluorescence in situ hybridization specifically targeting sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) of the Desulfosarcina/Desulfococcus group, which are present in the aggregates of AOM consortia in extremely high numbers, these specific fatty acids appear to provide a phenotypic fingerprint indicative for SRB of this group. Correlating depth profiles of specific fatty acid content and aggregate number in combination with pore water sulfate data provide further evidence of this finding. Using mass balance calculations we present a cell-specific fatty acid pattern most likely displaying a very close resemblance to the still uncultured Desulfosarcina/Desulfococcus species involved in AOM.