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Physiology of a Methanobacterium strain AZ


A methanogenic bacterium using H2 and CO2 as sole energy and carbon source has been isolated in pure culture from digested sludge. Its colonies on mineral agar are translucent, convex, circular with entire margins and yellow to brownish in colour. Cells are gram-positive, non motile and appear as straight cods, normally about 3 μm long. A marked pleomorphism depending on the media was observed. The organism is chemolithoheterotrophic, has a pH optimum of 7.0 and an optimal temperature for growth of 33–40°C; no growth occurs above 45°C. The generation time at optimal conditions is less than 5 h. Cysteine must be supplied in the growth medium. It can act as sole sulfur source. The addition of sulfide accelerates the growth at an optimum concentration of 10-4 to 10-5 molar. A growth factor, not identical with SH-coenzyme M, occurring in anaerobic sewage sludge and yeast extract shows a stimulatory effect. 7.0–8.2% of the total carbon dioxide uptake is assimilated and 11.2% of the energy obtained from the reduction of carbon dioxide to methane is refound in the caloric value of the biomass. 0.01 ppm of dissolved oxygen completely inhibits growth and methane production. However, the bacteria do not loose their viability when exposed to high oxygen concentrations. Further informations are needed before this organism (DSM 744) is specifically identified.

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Zehnder, A.J.B., Wuhrmann, K. Physiology of a Methanobacterium strain AZ. Arch. Microbiol. 111, 199–205 (1977).

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Key words

  • Methanobacterium strain AZ
  • New isolate
  • Oxygen effect
  • Characterization
  • Physiology