Nitrite-dependent anaerobic methane oxidation (n-damo) is a recently discovered new microbial process performed by the Candidatus Methylomirabilis oxyfera with an unusual intra-aerobic pathway, but there is no report about n-damo bacteria in marine environments. M. oxyfera-like sequences were successfully retrieved for the first time from both surface and subsurface ocean sediments of the South China Sea (SCS) using both 16S rRNA and pmoA genes as biomarkers and PCR amplification in this study. The majority of M. oxyfera-like 16S rRNA gene-based PCR amplified sequences from the SCS sediments formed a new group distinctively different from those detected in freshwater habitats and the information is consistent phylogenetically with those obtained from the pmoA gene. This study showed the existence of n-damo in ocean sediments and suggests that marine sediments harbor n-damo phylotypes different from those in the freshwater. This finding here expands our understanding on the distribution of n-damo bacteria to marine ecosystem and implies their potential contribution to the marine C and N cycling.
- South China Sea
- marine sediment
- nitrite-dependent anaerobic methane oxidation
- pmoA gene