Marine sediments harbor diverse archaea and bacteria with the potential for anaerobic hydrocarbon degradation via fumarate addition

Chuwen Zhang, Rainer U. Meckenstock, Shengze Weng, Guangshan Wei, Casey R.J. Hubert, Jiang Hai Wang, Xiyang Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Marine sediments can contain large amounts of alkanes and methylated aromatic hydrocarbons that are introduced by natural processes or anthropogenic activities. These compounds can be biodegraded by anaerobic microorganisms via enzymatic addition of fumarate. However, the identity and ecological roles of a significant fraction of hydrocarbon degraders containing fumarate-adding enzymes (FAE) in various marine sediments remains unknown. By combining phylogenetic reconstructions, protein homolog modelling, and functional profiling of publicly available metagenomes and genomes, 61 draft bacterial and archaeal genomes encoding anaerobic hydrocarbon degradation via fumarate addition were obtained. Besides Desulfobacterota (previously known as Deltaproteobacteria) that are well-known to catalyze these reactions, Chloroflexi are dominant FAE-encoding bacteria in hydrocarbon-impacted sediments, potentially coupling sulfate reduction or fermentation to anaerobic hydrocarbon degradation. Among Archaea, besides Archaeoglobi previously shown to have this capability, genomes of Heimdallarchaeota, Lokiarchaeota, Thorarchaeota and Thermoplasmata also suggest fermentative hydrocarbon degradation using archaea-type FAE. These bacterial and archaeal hydrocarbon degraders occur in a wide range of marine sediments, including high abundances of FAE-encoding Asgard archaea associated with natural seeps and subseafloor ecosystems. Our results expand the knowledge of diverse archaeal and bacterial lineages engaged in anaerobic degradation of alkanes and methylated aromatic hydrocarbons.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberfiab045
JournalFEMS Microbiology Ecology
Volume97
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 May 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • anaerobic hydrocarbon degradation
  • fumarate addition
  • marine sediments
  • metagenome-assembled genomes
  • uncultured archaea and bacteria

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