Comparison of RNA- and DNA-based bacterial communities in a lab-scale methane-degrading biocover

Tae Gwan Kim, Kyung Eun Moon, Jeonghee Yun, Kyung Suk Cho

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Methanotrophs must become established and active in a landfill biocover for successful methane oxidation. A lab-scale biocover with a soil mixture was operated for removal of methane and nonmethane volatile organic compounds, such as dimethyl sulfide (DMS), benzene (B), and toluene (T). The methane elimination capacity was 211 ± 40 g m-2 d-1 at inlet loads of 330-516 g m-2 d-1. DMS, B, and T were completely removed at the bottom layer (40-50 cm) with inlet loads of 221.6 ± 92.2, 99.6 ± 19.5, and 23.4 ± 4.9 mg m-2 d-1, respectively. The bacterial community was examined based on DNA and RNA using ribosomal tag pyrosequencing. Interestingly, methanotrophs comprised 80 % of the active community (RNA) while 29 % of the counterpart (DNA). Types I and II methanotrophs equally contributed to methane oxidation, and Methylobacter, Methylocaldum, and Methylocystis were dominant in both communities. The DNA vs. RNA comparison suggests that DNA-based analysis alone can lead to a significant underestimation of active members.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3171-3181
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) (NRL program, R0A-2008-000-20044-0), and RP-Grant 2012 of Ewha Womans University.


  • Biocover
  • DNA
  • Methanotroph
  • Microbial ecology
  • Pyrosequencing
  • RNA


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