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Particulate organic matter, in varying amounts, falls to the sediment in lakes, where it undergoes decomposition via a mixed chemoorganotrophic bacterial population. This paper proposes the use of methanogenesis as a means of measuring this chemoorganotrophic activity in strict anaerobic environments typical of eutrophic lake sediments. The theory, a review of methods, applications, and examples of data are presented for both in vitro and in situ methods of measuring rates of methane production in sediments. Data are presented from the literature and the author's laboratory demonstrating a direct relationship between sedimentation rates of organic matter and rates of methanogenesis
aquatic bacteria, methane, methanogenesis, heterotrophy, chemoorganotrophy, decomposition, sediments, anaerobic
Research associate, Freshwater Institute, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Assistant direct, Bioconversion Research, Institute of Gas Technology, Chicago, Ill.