Methane metabolism in wetlands involves diverse groups of bacteria and archaea, which are responsible for the biological decomposition of organic matter under certain anoxic conditions. Recent advances in environmental omics revealed the phylogenetic diversity of novel microbial lineages, which have not been previously placed in the traditional tree of life. The present study aimed to verify the key players in methane production, either well-known archaeal members or recently identified lineages, in peat soils collected from wetland areas in Japan. Based on an analysis of microbial communities using 16S rRNA gene sequencing and the molecular cloning of the functional gene, mcrA, a marker gene for methanogenesis, methanogenic archaea belonging to Methanomicrobiales, Methanosarcinales, Methanobacteriales, and Methanomassiliicoccales were detected in anoxic peat soils, suggesting the potential of CH4 production in this natural wetland. “Candidatus Bathyarchaeia”, archaea with vast metabolic capabilities that is widespread in anoxic environments, was abundant in subsurface peat soils (up to 96% of the archaeal community) based on microbial gene quantification by qPCR. These results emphasize the importance of discovering archaea members outside of traditional methanogenic lineages that may have significant functions in the wetland biogeochemical cycle.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Soil Science
- Plant Science