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How does AOM work?

What controls the extracellular electron transfer between the archaeal and bacterial cells mediating anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) coupled with sulfate reduction in deep-sea sediments? Despite more than a decade of research, the details of the physiological mechanism underlying AOM are still not completely understood. But a new study, published in the journal Environmental Microbiology with UGA Marine Sciences PhD student Xiaojia He as lead author, indicates that DIET (direct interspecies electron transfer) is a viable pathway of electron transport in these consortia, with the aid of experimental data at the single-cell resolution. The study, a collaborative effort by scientists from UGA, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan, California Institute of Technology, USA, and Santa Fe Institute, USA, demonstrated that DIET model predications are consistent with empirical observations, with little impact of the spatial distribution of bacterial and archaeal cells and consortium sizes. These modeling efforts can be used to guide further empirical and theoretical explorations into the identity and kinetics of extracellular redox-active components within AOM consortia with important environmental roles.

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