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Archaea
Volume 2013, Article ID 582646, 13 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/582646
Research Article

Dynamics of the Methanogenic Archaea in Tropical Estuarine Sediments

1Department of Hydrobiology, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Iztapalapa, Avenida San Rafael Atlixco No. 86, Colonia Vicentina, 09340 Mexico City, DF, Mexico
2Department of Biotechnology, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Iztapalapa, Avenida San Rafael Atlixco No. 86, Colonia Vicentina, 09340 Mexico City, DF, Mexico

Received 27 July 2012; Revised 30 October 2012; Accepted 3 December 2012

Academic Editor: Martin Krüger

Copyright © 2013 María del Rocío Torres-Alvarado et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Methanogenesis may represent a key process in the terminal phases of anaerobic organic matter mineralization in sediments of coastal lagoons. The aim of the present work was to study the temporal and spatial dynamics of methanogenic archaea in sediments of tropical coastal lagoons and their relationship with environmental changes in order to determine how these influence methanogenic community. Sediment samples were collected during the dry (February, May, and early June) and rainy seasons (July, October, and November). Microbiological analysis included the quantification of viable methanogenic archaea (MA) with three substrates and the evaluation of kinetic activity from acetate in the presence and absence of sulfate. The environmental variables assessed were temperature, pH, Eh, salinity, sulfate, solids content, organic carbon, and carbohydrates. MA abundance was significantly higher in the rainy season (106–107 cells/g) compared with the dry season (104–106 cells/g), with methanol as an important substrate. At spatial level, MA were detected in the two layers analyzed, and no important variations were observed either in MA abundance or activity. Salinity, sulfate, solids, organic carbon, and Eh were the environmental variables related to methanogenic community. A conceptual model is proposed to explain the dynamics of the MA.