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ERC

Eco-MoM Report Summary

Project ID: 339880
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: Netherlands

Mid-Term Report Summary - ECO-MOM (Ecology of anaerobic methane oxidizing microbes)

The overall aim of this ERC project is to obtain a fundamental understanding of the ecological importance of the anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM). In seven complementary research lines the detection, adaptation, ecophysiology, biochemistry, cell biology, metabolism and application of methane oxidizing micro-organism are investigated.
The genomes of several AOM bacteria and archaea were sequenced and assembled. The genome analysis revealed that the organisms harboured various interesting genes that are highly expressed both in the transcriptome and proteome and include nitrate reductase, nitrite reductase, nitric oxide dismutase, methane monoxygenase and methyl-coenzyme M reductase. New primer sets were developed to detect AOM archaea and bacteria based on 16S rRNA, pmoa, NO dismutase and mcrA genes. This enabled the sensitive detection of the organisms in various ecosystems including paddy soils, peat ecosystems, lake and estuarine sediments. The metabolism and adaptation of the AOM microorganisms is investigated in dedicated bioreactor and micro-cosm systems and showed an intricate interplay between AOM archaea, AOM bacteria and anammox bacteria. Methylomirabilis AOM bacteria have an unique prokaryotic cell structure that is being investigated by electron microscopic methods. Together with several collaborators, joint expeditions to various anaerobic ecosystems were made, and the results showed the presence of both nitrate and iron dependent methane oxidizing microorganisms in the investigated oxygen limited systems. For the applied aspects, the results of the project so far indicate that AOM bacteria and archaea together with anammox are able to remove ammonium and methane from (synthetic) wastewater. Recently a ERC Proof of Concept grant was awarded that will help to analyse the market potential of AOM and to make a business plan for the new combination. The results of this project resulted so far in 22 publications, and 6 PhD theses are in progress. The scientific outcome of this ERC project was disseminated at several conferences, and resulted in numerous invitations for lectures, seminars and public appearances.

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Kim Fransen, (Account Manager)
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Record Number: 189620 / Last updated on: 2016-10-12