A thermophilic coccoid methanogenic bacterium, strain TCI, that grew optimally around 55° C was isolated with 2-propanol as hydrogen donor for methanogenesis from CO2. H2, formate or 2-butanol were used in addition. Each secondary alcohol was oxidized to its ketone. Growth occurred in defined freshwater as well as salt (2% NaCl, w/v) medium. Acetate was required as carbon source, and 4-aminobenzoate and biotin as growth factors. A need for molybdate or alternatively tungstate was shown.
Strain TCI was further characterized together with two formerly isolated mesophilic secondary alcohol-utilizing methanogens, the coccoid strain CV and the spirilloid strain SK. The guanine plus cytosine content of the DNA of the three strains was 55,47, and 39 mol%, respectively. Determination of the molecular weights of the methylreductase subunits and sequencing of ribosomal 16S RNA of strains TCI and CV revealed close relationships to the genus Methanogenium. The new isolate TCI is classified as a strain of the existing species, Methanogenium thermophilum (thermophilicum). For strain CV, that uses ethanol or 1-propanol in addition, a classification as new species, Methanogenium organophilum, is proposed. Strain SK is affiliated with the existing species, Methanospirillum hungatei. The ability to use secondary alcohols was also tested with described species of methanogens. Growth with secondary alcohols was observed with Methanogenium marisnigri, Methanospirillum hungatei strain GP1 and Methanobacterium bryantii, but not with Methanospirillum strains JF1 and M1h, Methanosarcina barkeri, Methanococcus species or thermophilic strains or species other than the new isolate TCI.