• Methanogen;
  • Fen;
  • Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis;
  • Methane production;
  • Methyl-coenzyme M reductase


The annual rate of CH4 release and potential CH4 production has recently been studied in the Salmisuo fen in eastern Finland but the microbiota responsible for the CH4 production has not been examined. The diversity of the methane producing Archaea was analysed, at different depths, in the most representative microsite (Eriophorum lawn) of the fen. Methanogen populations were studied using primers amplifying a region of the methyl-coenzyme M reductase gene. PCR products were analysed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis of clone libraries. A representative of each RFLP group was sequenced. The study revealed a change of the methanogen populations with depth. Sequences from the upper layers of the fen grouped in a novel ‘Fen cluster’ and were related to Methanomicrobiales. Sequences retrieved from the deeper layers of the fen were related to Methanosarcinales via the Rice Cluster-I.