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About: Methanogen is a(n) research topic. Over the lifetime, 1146 publication(s) have been published within this topic receiving 48254 citation(s).

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Journal ArticleDOI
29 Apr 1999-Nature
TL;DR: Studies of sediments related to a decomposing methane hydrate provide strong evidence that methane is being consumed by archaebacteria that are phylogenetically distinct from known methanogens.
Abstract: Large amounts of methane are produced in marine sediments but are then consumed before contacting aerobic waters or the atmosphere1. Although no organism that can consume methane anaerobically has ever been isolated, biogeochemical evidence indicates that the overall process involves a transfer of electrons from methane to sulphate and is probably mediated by several organisms, including a methanogen (operating in reverse) and a sulphate-reducer (using an unknown intermediate substrate)2. Here we describe studies of sediments related to a decomposing methane hydrate. These provide strong evidence that methane is being consumed by archaebacteria that are phylogenetically distinct from known methanogens. Specifically, lipid biomarkers that are commonly characteristic of archaea are so strongly depleted in carbon-13 that methane must be the carbon source, rather than the metabolic product, for the organisms that have produced them. Parallel gene surveys of small-subunit ribosomal RNA (16S rRNA) indicate the predominance of a new archael group which is peripherally related to the methanogenic orders Methanomicrobiales and Methanosarcinales.

1,098 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The ecology of methanogens highlights their complex interactions with other anaerobes and the physical and chemical factors controlling their function.
Abstract: Although of limited metabolic diversity, methanogenic archaea or methanogens possess great phylogenetic and ecological diversity. Only three types of methanogenic pathways are known: CO(2)-reduction, methyl-group reduction, and the aceticlastic reaction. Cultured methanogens are grouped into five orders based upon their phylogeny and phenotypic properties. In addition, uncultured methanogens that may represent new orders are present in many environments. The ecology of methanogens highlights their complex interactions with other anaerobes and the physical and chemical factors controlling their function.

926 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: Field and laboratory studies of anoxic sediments from Cape Lookout Bight, North Carolina, suggest that anaerobic methane oxidation is mediated by a consortium of methanogenic and sulfate-reducing bacteria. A seasonal survey of methane oxidation and CO2 reduction rates indicates that methane production was confined to sulfate-depleted sediments at all times of year, while methane oxidation occurred in two modes. In the summer, methane oxidation was confined to sulfate-depleted sediments and occurred at rates lower than those of CO2 reduction. In the winter, net methane oxidation occurred in an interval at the base of the sulfate-containing zone. Sediment incubation experiments suggest both methanogens and sulfate reducers were responsible for the observed methane oxidation. In one incubation experiment both modes of oxidation were partially inhibited by 2-bromoethanesulfonic acid (a specific inhibitor of methanogens). This evidence, along with the apparent confinement of methane oxidation to sulfate-depleted sediments in the summer, indicates that methanogenic bacteria are involved in methane oxidation. In a second incubation experiment, net methane oxidation was induced by adding sulfate to homogenized methanogenic sediments, suggesting that sulfate reducers also play a role in the process. We hypothesize that methanogens oxidize methane and produce hydrogen via a reversal of CO2 reduction. The hydrogen is efficiently removed and maintained at low concentrations by sulfate reducers. Pore water H2 concentrations in the sediment incubation experiments (while net methane oxidation was occurring) were low enough that methanogenic bacteria could derive sufficient energy for growth from the oxidation of methane. The methanogen-sulfate reducer consortium is consistent not only with the results of this study, but may also be a feasible mechanism for previously documented anaerobic methane oxidation in both freshwater and marine environments.

727 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The complete genome sequence of an acetate-utilizing methanogen, Methanosarcina acetivorans C2A, is reported, which indicates the likelihood of undiscovered natural energy sources for methanogenesis, whereas the presence of single-subunit carbon monoxide dehydrogenases raises the possibility of nonmethanogenic growth.
Abstract: The Archaea remain the most poorly understood domain of life despite their importance to the biosphere. Methanogenesis, which plays a pivotal role in the global carbon cycle, is unique to the Archaea. Each year, an estimated 900 million metric tons of methane are biologically produced, representing the major global source for this greenhouse gas and contributing significantly to global warming (Schlesinger 1997). Methanogenesis is critical to the waste-treatment industry and biologically produced methane also represents an important alternative fuel source. At least two-thirds of the methane in nature is derived from acetate, although only two genera of methanogens are known to be capable of utilizing this substrate. We report here the first complete genome sequence of an acetate-utilizing (acetoclastic) methanogen, Methanosarcina acetivorans C2A. The Methanosarcineae are metabolically and physiologically the most versatile methanogens. Only Methanosarcina species possess all three known pathways for methanogenesis (Fig. ​(Fig.1)1) and are capable of utilizing no less than nine methanogenic substrates, including acetate. In contrast, all other orders of methanogens possess a single pathway for methanogenesis, and many utilize no more than two substrates. Among methanogens, the Methanosarcineae also display extensive environmental diversity. Individual species of Methanosarcina have been found in freshwater and marine sediments, decaying leaves and garden soils, oil wells, sewage and animal waste digesters and lagoons, thermophilic digesters, feces of herbivorous animals, and the rumens of ungulates (Zinder 1993). Figure 1 Three pathways for methanogenesis. Methanogenesis is a form of anaerobic respiration using a variety of one-carbon (C-1) compounds or acetic acid as a terminal electron acceptor. All three pathways converge on the reduction of methyl-CoM to methane (CH ... The Methanosarcineae are unique among the Archaea in forming complex multicellular structures during different phases of growth and in response to environmental change (Fig. ​(Fig.2).2). Within the Methanosarcineae, a number of distinct morphological forms have been characterized, including single cells with and without a cell envelope, as well as multicellular packets and lamina (Macario and Conway de Macario 2001). Packets and lamina display internal morphological heterogeneity, suggesting the possibility of cellular differentiation. Moreover, it has been suggested that cells within lamina may display differential production of extracellular material, a potential form of cellular specialization (Macario and Conway de Macario 2001). The formation of multicellular structures has been proposed to act as an adaptation to stress and likely plays a role in the ability of Methanosarcina species to colonize diverse environments. Figure 2 Different morphological forms of Methanosarcina acetivorans. Thin-section electron micrographs showing M. acetivorans growing as both single cells (center of micrograph) and within multicellular aggregates (top left, bottom right). Cells were harvested ... Significantly, powerful methods for genetic analysis exist for Methanosarcina species. These tools include plasmid shuttle vectors (Metcalf et al. 1997), very high efficiency transformation (Metcalf et al. 1997), random in vivo transposon mutagenesis (Zhang et al. 2000), directed mutagenesis of specific genes (Zhang et al. 2000), multiple selectable markers (Boccazzi et al. 2000), reporter gene fusions (M. Pritchett and W. Metcalf, unpubl.), integration vectors (Conway de Macario et al. 1996), and anaerobic incubators for large-scale growth of methanogens on solid media (Metcalf et al. 1998). Furthermore, and in contrast to other known methanogens, genetic analysis can be used to study the process of methanogenesis: Because Methanosarcina species are able to utilize each of the three known methanogenic pathways, mutants in a single pathway are viable (M. Pritchett and W. Metcalf, unpubl.). The availability of genetic methods allowing immediate exploitation of genomic sequence, coupled with the genetic, physiological, and environmental diversity of M. acetivorans make this species an outstanding model organism for the study of archaeal biology. For these reasons, we set out to study the genome of M. acetivorans.

602 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Under conventional growth conditions, the isotope fractionation of methanogenesis by M. kandleri strain 116 was similar to values previously reported for other hydrogenotrophic methanogens, but under high hydrostatic pressures, the atom fractionation effect became much smaller, and the kinetic isotope effect was one of the smallest effects ever reported.
Abstract: We have developed a technique for cultivation of chemolithoautotrophs under high hydrostatic pressures that is successfully applicable to various types of deep-sea chemolithoautotrophs, including methanogens. It is based on a glass-syringe-sealing liquid medium and gas mixture used in conjunction with a butyl rubber piston and a metallic needle stuck into butyl rubber. By using this technique, growth, survival, and methane production of a newly isolated, hyperthermophilic methanogen Methanopyrus kandleri strain 116 are characterized under high temperatures and hydrostatic pressures. Elevated hydrostatic pressures extend the temperature maximum for possible cell proliferation from 116°C at 0.4 MPa to 122°C at 20 MPa, providing the potential for growth even at 122°C under an in situ high pressure. In addition, piezophilic growth significantly affected stable carbon isotope fractionation of methanogenesis from CO2. Under conventional growth conditions, the isotope fractionation of methanogenesis by M. kandleri strain 116 was similar to values (−34‰ to−27‰) previously reported for other hydrogenotrophic methanogens. However, under high hydrostatic pressures, the isotope fractionation effect became much smaller (<−12‰), and the kinetic isotope effect at 122°C and 40 MPa was −9.4‰, which is one of the smallest effects ever reported. This observation will shed light on the sources and production mechanisms of deep-sea methane.

597 citations

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