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Anaerobic Degradation of Alkanes by Marine Archaea

Wegener, Gunter and Laso-Pérez, Rafael and Orphan, Victoria J. and Boetius, Antje (2022) Anaerobic Degradation of Alkanes by Marine Archaea. Annual Review of Microbiology, 76 (1). pp. 553-577. ISSN 0066-4227. doi:10.1146/annurev-micro-111021-045911.

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Alkanes are saturated apolar hydrocarbons that range from their simplest form, methane, to high-molecular-weight compounds. Although alkanes were once considered biologically recalcitrant under anaerobic conditions, microbiological investigations have now identified several microbial taxa that can anaerobically degrade alkanes. Here we review recent discoveries in the anaerobic oxidation of alkanes with a specific focus on archaea that use specific methyl coenzyme M reductases to activate their substrates. Our understanding of the diversity of uncultured alkane-oxidizing archaea has expanded through the use of environmental metagenomics and enrichment cultures of syntrophic methane-, ethane-, propane-, and butane-oxidizing marine archaea with sulfate-reducing bacteria. A recently cultured group of archaea directly couples long-chain alkane degradation with methane formation, expanding the range of substrates used for methanogenesis. This article summarizes the rapidly growing knowledge of the diversity, physiology, and habitat distribution of alkane-degrading archaea.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Wegener, Gunter0000-0002-6819-373X
Laso-Pérez, Rafael0000-0002-6912-7865
Orphan, Victoria J.0000-0002-5374-6178
Boetius, Antje0000-0003-2117-4176
Additional Information:This review was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) under Germany’s Excellence Initiative/Strategy through the Cluster of Excellence “The Ocean Floor-Earth’s Uncharted Interface” (EXC-2077–390741603 to G.W., R.L.-P., A.B., and V.J.O.). Further support came from the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology and the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research. V.J.O.’s contributions were supported by the Department of Energy (DE-SC0020373) and by the Symbiosis Model Systems Initiative of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. V.J.O. is a fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) in the Earth 4D program. We thank C. Hahn, H. Yu, G. Chadwick, Y. Guo, C. Welte, A. Arshad, J. Kurth, and F. Musat for providing microscopy images. This article was prepared in the memory of the methane pioneers William S. Reeburgh and Ronald S. Oremland, who have inspired us with their creativity, insight, and wit.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)EXC-2077–390741603
Max Planck Institute for Marine MicrobiologyUNSPECIFIED
Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine ResearchUNSPECIFIED
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-SC0020373
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Symbiosis Model Systems InitiativeUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:archaea, alkanes, methyl coenzyme M reductase, anaerobic metabolism, microbial consortia, syntrophy
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220912-80857800
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Official Citation:Anaerobic Degradation of Alkanes by Marine Archaea Gunter Wegener, Rafael Laso-Pérez, Victoria J. Orphan, Antje Boetius Annual Review of Microbiology 2022 76:1, 553-577
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:116897
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:28 Sep 2022 17:49
Last Modified:28 Sep 2022 17:49

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