Diversity of methanogenic archaea in freshwater sediments of lacustrine ecosystems.

About half of the global methane (CH4 ) emission is contributed by the methanogenic archaeal communities leading to a significant increase in global warming. This unprecedented situation has increased the ever growing necessity of evaluating the control measures for limiting CH4 emission to the atmosphere. Unfortunately, research endeavors on the diversity and functional interactions of methanogens are not extensive till date. We anticipate that the study of the diversity of methanogenic community is paramount for understanding the metabolic processes in freshwater lake ecosystems. Although there are several disadvantages of conventional culture-based methods for determining the diversity of methanogenic archaeal communities, in order to understand their ecological roles in natural environments it is required to culture the microbes. Recently different molecular techniques have been developed for determining the structure of methanogenic archaeal communities thriving in freshwater lake ecosystem. The two gene based cloning techniques required for this purpose are 16S rRNA and methyl coenzyme M reductase (mcrA) in addition to the recently developed metagenomics approaches and high throughput next generation sequencing efforts. This review discusses the various methods of culture-dependent and -independent measures of determining the diversity of methanogen communities in lake sediments in lieu of the different molecular approaches and inter-relationships of diversity of methanogenic archaea.

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