Science China Life Sciences

, Volume 62, Issue 10, pp 1287–1295 | Cite as

Metal-dependent anaerobic methane oxidation in marine sediment: Insights from marine settings and other systems

  • Lewen Liang
  • Yinzhao Wang
  • Orit Sivan
  • Fengping WangEmail author


Anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) plays a crucial role in controlling global methane emission. This is a microbial process that relies on the reduction of external electron acceptors such as sulfate, nitrate/nitrite, and transient metal ions. In marine settings, the dominant electron acceptor for AOM is sulfate, while other known electron acceptors are transient metal ions such as iron and manganese oxides. Despite the AOM process coupled with sulfate reduction being relatively well characterized, researches on metal-dependent AOM process are few, and no microorganism has to date been identified as being responsible for this reaction in natural marine environments. In this review, geochemical evidences of metal-dependent AOM from sediment cores in various marine environments are summarized. Studies have showed that iron and manganese are reduced in accordance with methane oxidation in seeps or diffusive profiles below the methanogenesis zone. The potential biochemical basis and mechanisms for metal-dependent AOM processes are here presented and discussed. Future research will shed light on the microbes involved in this process and also on the molecular basis of the electron transfer between these microbes and metals in natural marine environments.


anaerobic methane oxidation metal-AOM marine sediment archaea electron transfer 


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The authors would like to thank Wenyue Liang, Minyang Niu, Zeyu Jia and Yunru Chen from Shanghai Jiao Tong University for providing help either on figure visualization or suggestions. This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (91751205, 41525011), the National Key R&D project of China (2018YFC0310800), China Postdoctoral Science Foundation Grant (2018T110390), and the joint Israel Science Foundation-National Natural Science Foundation of China (ISF-NSFC) (31661143022 (FW), 2561/16 (OS)).

Compliance and ethics The author(s) declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lewen Liang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yinzhao Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Orit Sivan
    • 3
  • Fengping Wang
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Microbial Metabolism, School of Life Sciences and BiotechnologyShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Joint International Research Laboratory of Metabolic & Developmental SciencesShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina
  3. 3.Department of Geological and Environmental SciencesBen-Gurion University of the NegevBeer-ShevaIsrael

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