Methane-oxidizing bacteria in a Finnish raised mire complex: effects of site fertility and drainage

Microb Ecol. 2005 Oct;50(3):429-39. doi: 10.1007/s00248-005-9219-x.


Methane-oxidizing bacteria (MOB) are the only biological sinks for methane (CH4). Drainage of peatlands is known to decrease overall CH4 emission, but the effect on MOB is unknown. The objective of this work was to characterize the MOB community and activity in two ecohydrologically different pristine peatland ecosystems, a fen and a bog, and their counterparts that were drained in 1961. Oligotrophic fens are groundwater-fed peatlands, but ombrotrophic bogs receive additional water and nutrients only from rainwater. The sites were sampled in August 2003 down to 10 cm below the water table (WT), and cores were divided into 10-cm subsamples. CH4 oxidation was measured by gas chromatography (GC) to characterize MOB activity. The MOB community structure was characterized by polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and sequencing methods using partial pmoA and mmoX genes. The highest CH4 oxidation rates were measured from the subsamples 20-30 and 30-40 cm above WT at the pristine oligotrophic fen (12.7 and 10.5 micromol CH4 dm-3 h-1, respectively), but the rates decreased to almost zero in the vicinity of WT. In the pristine ombrotrophic bog, the highest oxidation rate at 0-10 cm was lower than in the fen (8.10 micromol CH4 dm-3 h-1), but in contrast to the fen, oxidation rates of 4.5 micromol CH4 dm-3 h-1 were observed at WT and 10 cm below WT. Drainage reduced the CH4 oxidation rates to maximum values of 1.67 and 5.77 micromol CH4 dm-3 h-1 at 30-40 and 20-30 cm of the fen and bog site, respectively. From the total of 13 pmoA-derived DGGE bands found in the study, 11, 3, 6, and 2 were observed in the pristine fen and bog and their drained counterparts, respectively. According to the nonmetric multidimensional scaling of the DGGE banding pattern, the MOB community of the pristine fen differed from the other sites. The majority of partial pmoA sequences belonged to type I MOB, whereas the partial mmoX bands that were observed only in the bog sites formed a distinct group relating more to type II MOB. This study indicates that fen and bog ecosystems differ in MOB activity and community structure, and both these factors are affected by drainage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Ecosystem*
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Two-Dimensional
  • Finland
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Methane / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Soil Microbiology*
  • Species Specificity


  • Methane

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AY781158
  • GENBANK/AY781159
  • GENBANK/AY781160
  • GENBANK/AY781161
  • GENBANK/AY781162
  • GENBANK/AY781163
  • GENBANK/AY781164
  • GENBANK/AY781165
  • GENBANK/AY781166
  • GENBANK/AY781167
  • GENBANK/AY781168
  • GENBANK/AY781169