Microbiological and environmental significance of metal-dependent anaerobic oxidation of methane

Zhanfei He, Qingying Zhang, Yudong Feng, Hongwei Luo, Xiangliang Pan (Lead / Corresponding author), Geoffrey Michael Gadd

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

88 Citations (Scopus)
177 Downloads (Pure)


Anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) can be coupled to the reduction of sulfate, nitrate and nitrite, which effectively reduces methane emission into the atmosphere. Recently, metal-dependent AOM (metal-AOM, AOM coupled to metal reduction) was demonstrated to occur in both environmental samples and enrichment cultures. Anaerobic methanotrophs are capable of respiration using Fe(III) or Mn(IV), whether they are in the form of soluble metal species or insoluble minerals. Given the wide distribution of Fe(III)/Mn(IV)-bearing minerals in aquatic methane-rich environments, metal-AOM is considered to be globally important, although it has generally been overlooked in previous studies. In this article, we discuss the discovery of this process, the microorganisms and mechanisms involved, environmental significance and factors influencing metal-AOM. Since metal-AOM is poorly studied to date, some discussion is included on the present understanding of sulfate- and nitrate-AOM and traditional metal reduction processes using organic substrates or hydrogen as electron donors. Metal-AOM is a relatively new research field, and therefore more studies are needed to fully characterize the process. This review summarizes current studies and discusses the many unanswered questions, which should be useful for future research in this field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)759-768
Number of pages10
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date19 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Anaerobic methane oxidation
  • ANME-2
  • Ecological niche
  • Electron transfer
  • Influencing factors
  • Iron/manganese reduction
  • Anaerobiosis
  • Metals/chemistry
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Archaea/metabolism
  • Manganese Compounds/chemistry
  • Methane/metabolism
  • Ferric Compounds/chemistry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry


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