Consortia of low-abundance bacteria drive sulfate reduction-dependent degradation of fermentation products in peat soil microcosmsA cryptic sulfur cycle and effectively competes with methanogenic degradation pathways sustains dissimilatory sulfate reduction in peatlands. In a series of peat soil microcosms incubated over 50 days, we identified bacterial consortia that responded to small, periodic additions of individual fermentation products (formate, acetate, propionate, lactate or butyrate) in the presence or absence of sulfate. Under sulfate supplementation, net sulfate turnover (ST) steadily increased to 16–174 nmol cm –3 per day and almost completely blocked methanogenesis. 16S rRNA gene and cDNA amplicon sequencing identified microorganisms whose increases in ribosome numbers strongly correlated to ST. Natively abundant (greater than or equalmore »
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