, Volume 156, Issue 4, pp 239-247

Methanopyrus kandleri, gen. and sp. nov. represents a novel group of hyperthermophilic methanogens, growing at 110°C

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A novel group of hyperthermophilic rod-shaped motile methanogens was isolated from a hydrothermally heated deep sea sediment (Guaymas Basin, Gulf of California) and from a shallow marine hydrothermal system (Kolbeinsey ridge, Iceland). The grew between 84 and 110°C (opt: 98°C) and from 0.2% to 4% NaCl (opt. 2%) and pH 5.5 to 7 (opt: 6.5). The isolates were obligate chemolithoautotrophes using H2/CO2 as energy and carbon sources. In the presence of sulfur, H2S was formed and cells tended to lyse. The cell wall consisted of a new type of pseudomurein containing ornithin in addition to lysine and no N-acetylglucosamine. The pseudomurein layer was covered by a detergent-sensitive protein surface layer. The core lipid consisted exclusively of phytanyl diether. The GC content of the DNA was 60 mol%. By 16S rRNA comparisons the new organisms were not related to any of the three methanogenic lineages. Based on the physiological and molecular properties of the new isolates, we describe here a new genus, which we name Methanopyrus (the “methane fire”). The type species is Methanopyrus kandleri (type strain: AV19; DSM 6324).

This paper is dedicated to Otto Kandler on the occasion of his 70th birthday