• bacterial diversity;
  • methane;
  • methanotrophs;
  • pmoA;
  • rice soil–water interface


Aims:  To combine molecular and cultivation techniques to characterize the methanotrophic community in the soil–water interface (SWI) and rhizospheric soil from flooded rice fields in Uruguay, a temperate region in South America.

Methods and Results:  A novel type I, related to the genus Methylococcus, and three type II methanotrophs were isolated from the highest positive dilution steps from the most probable number (MPN) counts. Potential methane oxidation activities measured in slurried samples were higher in the rhizospheric soil compared to the SWI and were stimulated by N-fertilization. PmoA (particulate methane monooxygenase) clone libraries were constructed for both rice microsites. SWI clones clustered in six groups related to cultivated and uncultivated members from different ecosystems of the genera Methylobacter, Methylomonas, Methylococcus and a novel type I sublineage while cultivation and T-RFLP (terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism) analysis confirmed the presence of type II methanotrophs.

Conclusions:  Cultivation techniques, cloning analysis and T-RFLP fingerprinting of the pmoA gene revealed a diverse methanotrophic community in the rice rhizospheric soil and SWI.

Significance and Impact of the Study:  This study reports, for the first time, the analysis of the methanotrophic diversity in rice SWI and this diversity may be exploited in reducing methane emissions.