Sustainable methanotrophs: from ecology to microbial resource management


Methanotrophic bacteria play a vital role in reducing emissions of the greenhouse gas methane. These organisms are ubiquitous in nature and can use methane as sole carbon and energy source. This project focuses on the “microbial resource management” of methanotrophic communities. An interdisciplinary work strategy is followed, in which both LM-UGent and LabMET are involved.

In a first phase natural methane-oxidizing inocula are used to develop “high speed” and “high affinity” methanotrophic reactors. The methanotrophs will be isolated into pure culture from these reactors and from natural samples. The isolation of these fastidious organisms into pure culture has proven difficult and laborious. Therefore, new cultivation techniques will be explored. The isolates and communities form the basis of this research project.

Most of the knowledge known to date is limited to low affinity aerobic methane-oxidizers. However anaerobic and high affinity aerobic methane oxidation also occurs. These different processes will be explored. A combination of Stabile Isotope Probing (SIP), flow cytometry with phylogenetic probes and 16S rRNA gene sequencing will be utilized to identify and quantify the key players involved in methane oxidation in the communities. The isolated methanotrophs will be characterized polyphasically.

Once purified, the majority of methanotrophic isolates cannot be maintained using the standard long-term preservation techniques. Therefore, this project also explores the protective capabilities of different agents during preservation in combination with varying resuscitation media and preservation methodologies. These findings and the development of quality control tools could form the basis for preserving other fastidious organisms and methanotrophic consortia.

Run time: 
01/01/2009 to 31/12/2014
Project titel (NL): 
Duurzame methanotrofen: van ecologie tot microbieel bronmanagement
Project omschrijving (NL): 

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