New paper in PNAS identifies first microorganism that oxidizes sulfur and methane

Methylovirgula thiovorans' strain HY1

An international research team led by former DOME guest professor Sung-Keun Rhee (Chungbuk National University) and including DOME members Dimitri Kits and Alex Loy has identified a novel bacterium in a wetland, Methylovirgula thiovorans strain HY1, that can either independently or simultaneously oxidize both methane and sulfur compounds. This shows for the first time that thiotrophy and methanotrophy are metabolically compatible in a single microorganism. Mixotrophic methane/sulfur-oxidizing bacteria represent a previously overlooked aspect of carbon and sulfur cycling in wetlands and other climate-relevant environments.