Aim: To examine the biodiversity of archaeal sulfate reducers and methanogens present in
the underground coal mines of Jharia using metagenomics and pyrosequencing.
Objectives: 1) Bioinformatical analysis of the metagenomic data related to a taxonomic analysis obtained
from the coal to investigate complete archaeal taxonomic features of the coal bed methane
(CBM) microbiome. 2) Bioinformatical analysis of the metagenomic data related to a functional analysis
obtained from the coal to investigate functional features relating to taxonomic diversity of the
CBM microbiome. 3) The functional attributes have been examined specifically for ORFs related to
sulfite reduction and methanogenesis.
The taxonomic and functional biodiversity related to euryarchaeota will help in a better understanding
of the obstacles associated with methane production imposed by the sulfate reducers.
Background: The microbial methanogenesis in the coal microbiome is a resultant of substrate utilization
by primarily fermentative bacteria and methanogens. The present work reveals the biodiversity of
archaeal sulfate reducers and methanogens present in the underground coal mines of Jharia using metagenomics
Methodology: Bioinformatical analysis for structural and functional attributes was accomplished using
MG-RAST. The structural analysis was accomplished using RefSeq database, whereas the functional
analysis was done via CoG database with a cut off value, a sequence percent identity, and sequence
alignment length cut off of 1e−5, 60% and 45, respectively.
Results: Attained communities revealed the dominance of hyperthermophilic archaea Pyrococcus furiosus
along with Thermococcus kodakarensis in the coal metagenome.The obtained results also suggest
the presence of dissimilatory sulfite reductase and formylmethanofuran dehydrogenase, formylmethanofuran:
tetrahydromethanopterin formyltransferase involved in sulfite reduction and methanogenesis,
respectively, in the microbiome.
Conclusion: This report is the first attempt to showcase the existence of specific euryarchaeal diversity
and their related functional attributes from Jharia coal mines through high throughput sequencing.
The study helps in developing a better understanding of the presence of indigenous microbes (archaea)
and their functions in the coal microbiome, which can be utilized further to resolve the energy crisis.