Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 131, Issue 1, pp 14–18

Enumeration of Methanobrevibacter smithii in human feces

  • Terry L. Miller
  • Meyer J. Wolin

DOI: 10.1007/BF00451492

Cite this article as:
Miller, T.L. & Wolin, M.J. Arch. Microbiol. (1982) 131: 14. doi:10.1007/BF00451492


A platin medium containing cephalothin and clindamycin was developed for enumeration and isolation of methanogens in human feces. Specimens from nine CH4-producing subjects had total anaerobe counts of 1–8×1011/g dry weight. Methanogen counts on the antibiotic medium ranged from 0.001–12.6% of the total anaerobe count. There was no correlation between age, sex, or percent dry fecal weight and the ratio of methanogens to total counts. Specimens from eight non-CH4-producing individuals contained bacteria thay yielded nonmethanogenic colonies on the antibiotic medium. The means±SD of the logarithm of the total counts per gram dry weight were 11.4±0.29 and 11.38±0.44 for the positive and negative groups respectively. Values for the antibiotic-resistant flora were 8.8±1.13 and 7.78±1.08 respectively. Methanogens were isolated from the most dilute inoculum of each specimen from CH4-producing subjects. All isolates were morphologically, physiologically, and immunologically identical to Methanobrevibacter smithii. Growth of methanogens in media that were essentially extracts of CH4-negative feces suggested that no nutrients were lacking or inhibitors present in intestinal contents that prevent the growth of methanogens in these individuals.

Key words

Methanogens Human feces Antibiotic medium Methanobrevibacter smithii 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Terry L. Miller
    • 1
  • Meyer J. Wolin
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Laboratories and ResearchNew York State Department of HealthAlbanyUSA