The first methane-oxidizing bacterium from the upper mixing layer of the deep ocean:Methylomonas pelagica sp. nov.

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Methane enrichment of twenty-three 100-ml portions of seawater from three stations in the Sargasso Sea yielded the same obligate type I methanotroph. It is pigmented white, requires NaCl, grows well in seawater with either methane or methanol, but not on other C1 compounds nor on C-C bonded organic matter, and it uses either ammonia or nitrate but not dinitrogen as a nitrogen source. Formaldehyde is produced in marked amounts from methanol. Growth occurs at 20° and 30°C but not at 10°C and is inhibited in natural sunlight. Representative isolates from each hydrographic station assimilate one-carbon units via the ribulose monophosphate pathway for formaldehyde fixation, and have a DNA base composition of 49 mol% guanine plus cytosine. The type strain, NCMB 2265, has been named Methylomonas pelagica sp. nov. This upper ocean methanotroph may obtain its C1 substrates in situ from particles of algal debris that become anoxic, ferment, and accumulate in the thermocline to form a false benthos. © 1987 Springer-Verlag New York Inc.

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Current Microbiology