Ecology of methanotrophs in a landfill methane biofilter

Pearce, David (2023) Ecology of methanotrophs in a landfill methane biofilter. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

[thumbnail of DP 230226 PhD final thesis.pdf]
Download (5MB) | Preview


Decomposing landfill waste is a significant anthropogenic source of the potent climate-active gas methane (CH₄). To mitigate fugitive methane emissions Norfolk County Council are trialling a landfill biofilter, designed to harness the methane oxidizing potential of methanotrophic bacteria. These methanotrophs can convert CH₄ to CO₂ or biomass and act as CH₄ sinks.

The most active CH₄ oxidising regions of the Strumpshaw biofilter were identified from in-situ temperature, CH₄, O₂ and CO₂ profiles. While soil CH₄ oxidation potential was estimated and used to confirm methanotroph activity and determine optimal soil moisture conditions for CH₄ oxidation. It was observed that most CH₄ oxidation occurs in the top 60cm of the biofilter (up to 50% of CH4 input) at temperatures around 50ºC, optimal soil moisture was 10-27.5%. A decrease in in-situ temperature following CH₄ supply interruption suggested the high biofilter temperatures were driven by CH₄ oxidation.

The biofilter soil bacterial community was profiled by 16S rRNA gene analysis, with methanotrophs accounting for ~5-10% of bacteria. Active methanotrophs at a range of different incubation temperatures were identified by ¹³CH₄ DNA stable-isotope probing coupled with 16S rRNA gene amplicon and metagenome analysis. These methods identified Methylocella, Methylobacter, Methylocystis and Crenothrix as potential CH₄ oxidisers at the lower temperatures (30ºC/37ºC) observed following system start-up or gas-feed interruption. At higher temperatures typical of established biofilter operation (45ºC/50ºC), Methylocaldum and an unassigned Methylococcaceae species were the dominant active methanotrophs.

Finally, novel methanotrophs Methylococcus capsulatus (Norfolk) and Methylocaldum szegediense (Norfolk) were isolated from biofilter soil enrichments. Methylocaldum szegediense (Norfolk) may be very closely related to or the same species as one of the most abundant active methanotrophs in a metagenome from a 50ºC biofilter soil incubation, based on genome-to-MAG similarity. This isolate was capable of growth over a broad temperature range (37-62ºC) including the higher (in-situ) biofilter temperatures (>50ºC).

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Nicola Veasy
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2023 11:54
Last Modified: 23 Mar 2023 11:54

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item