Plant and Soil

, Volume 389, Issue 1–2, pp 419–423 | Cite as

Diazotrophic methanotrophs in peatlands: the missing link?

  • Adrian Ho
  • Paul LE Bodelier


A recent publication in Plant and Soil (Leppänen et al. 2015) reports on the effect of peat moss species and water table on the N2 fixation rate in boreal peatlands and forests. The lack of CH4-stimulated N2 fixation led the authors to conclude that methanotrophs do not contribute significantly to the N-supply of the mosses. This is in contrast to other studies in peatlands which suggest that methanotrophs may be responsible for the “unaccounted” N-input. The importance of peatlands in the global carbon cycle, combined with the crucial role of N not only in ombotrophic peatlands but also in thawing permafrost warrants a synthesis of these controversies.

Evidence for and against diazotrophic N-provision by aerobic methanotrophs in peatlands

Ombrotrophic peatlands are nitrogen poor environments, relying solely on atmospheric N deposition. Yet, there is an imbalance in atmospheric N deposition and N accumulation in Sphagnummosses, with N accumulation by far exceeding...


Methane oxidation Sphagnum NifH Symbiosis Stable isotope labeling Nitrogenase Nitrogen fixation 



AH is financially supported by the BE-Basic grant F03.001 (SURE/SUPPORT). This publication is publication no. 5792 of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Microbial EcologyNetherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW)WageningenThe Netherlands

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