Molecular diversity and tools for deciphering the methanogen community structure and diversity in freshwater sediments
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Methanogenic archaeal communities existing in freshwater sediments are responsible for approximately 50 % of the total global emission of methane. This process contributes significantly to global warming and, hence, necessitates interventional control measures to limit its emission. Unfortunately, the diversity and functional interactions of methanogenic populations occurring in these habitats are yet to be fully characterized. Considering several disadvantages of conventional culture-based methodologies, in recent years, impetus is given to molecular biology approaches to determine the community structure of freshwater sedimentary methanogenic archaea. 16S rRNA and methyl coenzyme M reductase (mcrA) gene-based cloning techniques are the first choice for this purpose. In addition, electrophoresis-based (denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, temperature gradient gel electrophoresis, and terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism) and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction techniques have also found extensive applications. These techniques are highly sensitive, rapid, and reliable as compared to traditional culture-dependent approaches. Molecular diversity studies revealed the dominance of the orders Methanomicrobiales and Methanosarcinales of methanogens in freshwater sediments. The present review discusses in detail the status of the diversity of methanogens and the molecular approaches applied in this area of research.
KeywordsMethanogens Diversity Sediments Microbial diversity Ribosomal RNA and mcrA
The authors are thankful to the European Social Fund and state budget of the Czech Republic for providing the financial support during this study. This work is a part of the POSTUP II project CZ.1.07/2.3.00/30.0041, which is mutually financed by the previously stated funding agencies.
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