Journal of Soils and Sediments

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 533–543 | Cite as

Changes in methane oxidation ability and methanotrophic community composition across different climatic zones

  • Lile Zeng
  • Jianqing TianEmail author
  • Huai ChenEmail author
  • Ning Wu
  • Zhiying Yan
  • Linfang Du
  • Yan Shen
  • Xu Wang
Soils, Sec 1 • Soil Organic Matter Dynamics and Nutrient Cycling • Research Article



Microbial oxidation by bacteria with the potential to oxidize C1 compounds (methanotrophs) is the only biological sink for atmospheric methane (CH4). Aerobic methanotrophs are particularly active in forest soils, but the role of aerobic methanotrophs in native forest soils in China remains poorly understood. The pmoA gene, encoding the key enzyme methane monooxygenase (particulate MMO), is widely used to identify methanotrophic communities.

Materials and methods

We collected soils from different vegetation types in one subtropical and one temperate forest in China. Potential CH4 oxidation rates and methanotroph communities were assessed via laboratory incubation and pmoA-based phylogenetic analysis, respectively.

Results and discussion

Across all sampling sites, we observed distinct variations in methanotroph community composition and CH4 oxidation rates. In all soils, CH4 oxidation rates increased with increasing CH4 concentration. Elevated temperature resulted in an increase in the CH4 oxidation rates in coniferous forests, while a decrease in deciduous forests. Restriction fragment length polymorphism analyses indicated that methantrophic community varied in different vegetation types. The methanotroph communities were dominated by type II methanotrophs (including soil cluster alpha (SCα), Methylocystis, and USCα) and type I methanotrophs (including USCγ and Methylobacter) in deciduous and coniferous forests, respectively.


It is suggested that intrinsic differences in CH4 oxidation rate responses to temperature between coniferous and deciduous soils are likely due to different methanotroph community structures. Taken together, the direction of CH4 feedback responses to disturbance was site specific.


Aerobic methane-oxidizing bacteria Methanotroph composition Subtropical forest Temperate forest 



The authors give special thanks to Mr. Gang Yang, YiXin He, Wei Xue, Zhijun Qiu, Dan Zhu, Wenqiang Hu, ZhenZhi Bai, and Ms. JunJun Zhang for their help in sample collection and to Ms. Dan Xue, QiuPing Zhong, XinYa Huang, Wei Li, and LiFan Xiao for some soil chemical characteristics tests.

Funding information

This work was supported by the National Key R&D Program of China (Grant No. 2016YFC0501804), the 1000 Talents Program of Sichuan Province of China, and the Youth Science and Technological Innovation Team Program, Sichuan Province (Grant No. 2015TD0026).

Supplementary material

11368_2018_2069_MOESM1_ESM.docx (135 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 134 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CAS Key Laboratory of Mountain Ecological Restoration and Bioresource Utilization & Ecological Restoration and Biodiversity Conservation Key Laboratory of Sichuan Province, Chengdu Institute of BiologyChinese Academy of SciencesChengduPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Hubei Jingzhou Ancient City Ring National Wetland Park DepartmentJingzhouChina
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Mycology, Institute of MicrobiologyChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.Key Laboratory of Environmental and Applied MicrobiologyChengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of SciencesChengduChina
  5. 5.College of Life SciencesSichuan UniversityChengduChina
  6. 6.Central South University of Forestry and TechnologyChangshaChina
  7. 7.Research Institute of Tropical ForestryChinese Academy of ForestryGuangzhouChina

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