Propionate converting anaerobic microbial communities enriched from distinct biogeochemical zones of Aarhus Bay, Denmark under sulfidogenic and methanogenic conditions



The relationship between predominant physiological types of prokaryotes in marine sediments and propionate degradation through sulfate reduction, fermentation, and methanogenesis was studied in marine sediments. Propionate conversion was assessed in slurries containing sediment from three different biogeochemical zones of Aarhus Bay, Denmark. Sediment slurries were amended with 0, 3 or 20 mM sulfate and incubated at 25°C and 10°C for 514 - 571 days. At the end of the incubation period, methanogenesis in the sulfate zone and sulfate reduction in the methane zone slurries was observed. Both processes occurred simultaneously in enrichments originating from samples along the whole sediment. Bacterial community analysis revealed dominance of Desulfobacteraceae and Desulfobulbaceae members in sulfate-amended slurries incubated at 25°C and 10°C. Cryptanaerobacter belonging to Peptococcaceae family dominated sulfate-free, methanogenic slurries at 25°C whereas bacteria related to Desulfobacteraceae were dominant at 10°C. Archaeal community analysis revealed prevalence of different genera belonging to Methanomicrobiales in slurries incubated at different temperatures and amended with different sulfate concentrations. Methanosarcinaceae were observed only in the absence of sulfate. In summary, Aarhus Bay sediment zones contain sulfate reducers, syntrophs and methanogens interacting with each other in the conversion of propionate . Our results indicate that in Aarhus Bay sediments Cryptanaerobacter degrade propionate in syntrophic association with methanogens.
Date made available14 Apr 2020
PublisherWageningen University
Geographical coverageAarhus Bay, Denmark


  • Propionate conversion
  • uncultured marine microorganism

Accession numbers

  • PRJEB36640
  • ERP119855

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