Molecular analysis of methanogenic archaeal communities in managed and natural upland pasture soils

Graeme W. Nicol, L. Anne Glover, James I. Prosser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Grassland management influences soil archaeal communities, which appear to be dominated by nonthermophilic crenarchaeotes. To determine whether methanogenic Archaea associated with the Euryarchaeota lineage are also present in grassland soils, anaerobic microcosms containing both managed (improved) and natural (unimproved) grassland rhizosphere soils were incubated for 28 days to encourage the growth of anaerobic Archaea. The contribution of potential methanogenic organisms to the archaeal community was assessed by the molecular analysis of RNA extracted from soil, using primers targeting all Archaea and Euryarchaeota. Archaeal RT-PCR products were obtained from all anaerobic microcosms. However, euryarchaeal RT-PCR products (of putative methanogen origin) were obtained only from anaerobic microcosms of improved soil, their presence coinciding with detectable methane production. Sequence analysis of excised denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) bands revealed the presence of euryarchaeal organisms that could not be detected before anaerobic enrichment. These data indicate that nonmethanogenic Crenarchaeota dominate archaeal communities in grassland soil and suggest that management practices encourage euryarchaeal methanogenic activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1451-1457
Number of pages7
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2003


  • Archaea
  • DGGE
  • diversity
  • methane
  • methanogenesis
  • RT-PCR
  • 16S rRNA
  • soil
  • rice field soil
  • sequential reduction processes
  • gradient gel-electrophoresis
  • 16S ribosomal-RNA
  • methane fluxes
  • forest
  • populations
  • grassland
  • oxidation
  • CH4
  • DGGE


Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular analysis of methanogenic archaeal communities in managed and natural upland pasture soils'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this