Methane oxidation in forest soils removes atmospheric CH4. Many studies have determined methane uptake rates and their controlling variables, yet the microorganisms involved have rarely been assessed simultaneously over the longer term. We measured methane uptake rates and the community structure of methanotrophic bacteria in temperate forest soil (sandy clay loam) on a monthly basis for two years in South Korea. Methane uptake rates at the field site did not show any seasonal patterns, and net uptake occurred throughout both years. In situ uptake rates and uptake potentials determined in the laboratory were 2.92 ± 4.07 mg CH4 m-2 day-1 and 51.6 ± 45.8 ng CH4 g-1 soil day-1, respectively. Contrary to results from other studies, in situ oxidation rates were positively correlated with soil nitrate concentrations. Short-term experimental nitrate addition (0.20-1.95 μg N g-1 soil) significantly stimulated oxidation rates under low methane concentrations (1.7-2.0 ppmv CH4), but significantly inhibited oxidation under high methane concentrations (300 ppmv CH4). We analyzed the community structures of methanotrophic bacteria using a DNA-based fingerprinting method (T-RFLP). Type II methanotrophs dominated under low methane concentrations while Type I methanotrophs dominated under high methane concentrations. Nitrogen addition selectively inhibited Type I methanotrophic bacteria. Overall, the results of this study indicate that the effects of inorganic N on methane uptake depend on methane concentrations and that such a response is related to the dissimilar activation or inhibition of different types of methanotrophic bacteria.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Soil Science