Conductive particles enable syntrophic acetate oxidation between Geobacter and Methanosarcina from coastal sediments

Amelia-Elena Rotaru, Federica Calabrese, Hryhoriy Stryhanyuk, Florin Musat, Pravin Malla Shrestha, Hannah Sophia Weber, Oona Snoeyenbos-West, Per O.J. Hall, Hans Richnow, Niculina Musat, Bo Thamdrup

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Coastal sediments are rich in conductive particles, possibly affecting microbial processes for which acetate is a central intermediate. In the methanogenic zone, acetate is consumed by methanogens and/or syntrophic acetate-oxidizing (SAO) consortia. SAO consortia live under extreme thermodynamic pressure, and their survival depends on successful partnership. Here, we demonstrate that conductive particles enable the partnership between SAO bacteria (i.e., Geobacter spp.) and methanogens (Methanosarcina spp.) from the coastal sediments of the Bothnian Bay of the Baltic Sea. Baltic methanogenic sediments were rich in conductive minerals, had an apparent isotopic fractionation characteristic of CO2-reductive methanogenesis, and were inhabited by Geobacter and Methanosarcina. As long as conductive particles were delivered, Geobacter and Methanosarcina persisted, whereas exclusion of conductive particles led to the extinction of Geobacter. Baltic Geobacter did not establish a direct electric contact with Methanosarcina, necessitating conductive particles as electrical conduits. Within SAO consortia, Geobacter was an efficient [13C]acetate utilizer, accounting for 82% of the assimilation and 27% of the breakdown of acetate. Geobacter benefits from the association with the methanogen, because in the absence of an electron acceptor it can use Methanosarcina as a terminal electron sink. Consequently, inhibition of methanogenesis constrained the SAO activity of Geobacter as well. A potential benefit for Methanosarcina partnering with Geobacter is that together they competitively exclude acetoclastic methanogens like Methanothrix from an environment rich in conductive particles. Conductive particle-mediated SAO could explain the abundance of acetate oxidizers like Geobacter in the methanogenic zone of sediments where no electron acceptors other than CO2 are available.
Udgave nummer3
StatusUdgivet - maj 2018


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