Molecular characterization of methane-oxidizing bacteria associated with rice straw decomposition in a rice field


: Z.-J. JIA, Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology, Karl-von-Frisch Straße, 35043 Marburg, Germany. Email:


Methane-oxidizing bacteria (MOB) are crucial to the reduction of CH4 emitted to the atmosphere. However, it is unclear how MOB in rice straw are affected by straw decomposition processes. In a Japanese rice field, a year-round experiment was set up to study the effects of agricultural practice (rice cultivation/winter fallow), straw parts (leaf sheath/blade) and the site of straw placement (plow layer/soil surface) on MOB communities in rice straw using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and DNA sequencing analyses of key MOB functional genes (pmoA and amoA). Thirty-eight different DGGE bands were observed over the entire investigation period. Principal component analysis of DGGE pattern suggested that agricultural practice is the key factor regulating the MOB communities. Sequencing of dominant DGGE bands showed that: (1) during the rice cultivation period, methanotrophs (particularly type I methanotrophs) dominated the MOB community, (2) during the winter fallow season both type I and type II methanotrophs were dominant in sheath segments placed both on the soil surface and in the plow layer, whereas ammonia oxidizers seemed to dominate blade segments placed in the plow layer. Alignment of diagnostic amino acid sequences of MOB suggested the presence of novel ammonia oxidizers in rice straw in rice fields.