Methanotrophs present in landfill cover soil can limit methane emissions from landfill sites by oxidizing methane produced in landfill. Understanding the spatial and temporal distribution of populations of methanotrophs and the factors influencing their activity and diversity in landfill cover soil is critical to devise better landfill cover soil management strategies. pmoA-based microarray analyses of methanotroph community structure revealed a temporal shift in methanotroph populations across different seasons. Type II methanotrophs (particularly Methylocystis sp.) were found to be present across all seasons. Minor shifts in type I methanotroph populations were observed. In the case of spatial distribution, only minor differences in methanotroph community structure were observed with no recognizable patterns (both vertical and horizontal) at a 5 m scale. Correlation analysis between soil abiotic parameters (total C, N, NH4+, NO3- and water content) and distribution of methanotrophs revealed a lack of conclusive evidence for any distinct correlation pattern between measured abiotic parameters and methanotroph community structure, suggesting that complex interactions of several physico-chemical parameters shape methanotroph diversity and activity in landfill cover soils.
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