Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 104, Issue 1, pp 129–134

Bacterial methanogenesis: Acetate as a methane precursor in pure culture


  • J. G. Zeikus
    • Department of BacteriologyUniversity of Wisconsin
  • P. J. Weimer
    • Department of BacteriologyUniversity of Wisconsin
  • D. R. Nelson
    • Department of BacteriologyUniversity of Wisconsin
  • L. Daniels
    • Department of BacteriologyUniversity of Wisconsin

DOI: 10.1007/BF00447312

Cite this article as:
Zeikus, J.G., Weimer, P.J., Nelson, D.R. et al. Arch. Microbiol. (1975) 104: 129. doi:10.1007/BF00447312


Pure cultures of methanogenic bacteria were shown to utilize acetate as a methanogenic substrate. In the presence of hydrogen, both Methanosarcina barkeri and Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum rapidly converted acetate to methane. This reaction was shown to be dependent on the concentration of hydrogen and acetate. In the absence of hydrogen, acetate was not fermented by methane bacteria. Both the methyl and carboxyl position of acetate were reduced to methane. More 14C-methane was detected from methyl than carboxyl-labeled acetate. The utilization of acetate by cultures of M. thermoautotrophicum was enhanced by addition of CO2/HCO3. Methyl labeled acetate was shown to be incorporated into whole cells and converted to 14CO2 and 14CH4 in the presence of H2 and 25 mM CO2/HCO3. The importance of acetate utilization in microbial methanogenesis was discussed.

Key words

Methane BacteriaMethanosarcina barkeriMethanobacterium thermoautotrophicumSubstrates for MethanogenesisAcetate UtilizationChemolithotrophy

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1975