Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 132, Issue 1, pp 1–9 | Cite as

Methanothrix soehngenii gen. nov. sp. nov., a new acetotrophic non-hydrogen-oxidizing methane bacterium

  • Beat A. Huser
  • Karl Wuhrmann
  • Alexander J. B. Zehnder
Original Papers


A new genus of methanogenic bacteria is described, which was isolated from a mesophilic sewage digester. It is most probably the filamentous bacterium, earlier referred to asMethanobacterium soehngenii, “fat rod” or “acetate organism”. The single non-motile, non-sporeforming cells are rod-shaped (0.8×2 μm) and are normally combined end to end in long filaments, surrounded by a sheath-like structure. The filaments form characteristic bundles.Methanothrix soehngenii decarboxylates acetate, yielding methane and carbon dioxide. Other methanogenic substrates (H2−CO2, formate, methanol, methylamines) are not used for growth or methane formation. Formate is split into hydrogen and carbon dioxide. The temperature optimum for growth and methane formation is 37°C and the optimal pH range is 7.4–7.8. Sulfide and ammonia serve as sulfur and nitrogen source respectively. Oxygen completely inhibits growth and methane formation, but the bacteria do not loose their viability when exposed to high oxygen concentrations. 100 mg/l vancomycin showed no inhibition of growth and methanogenesis. No growth and methane formation was observed in the presence of: 2-bromoethanesulfonic acid, viologen dyes, chloroform, and KCN. The bacterium has a growth yield on acetate of 1.1–1.4 g biomass per mol acetate. The apparent “K S ” of the acetate conversion system to methane and carbon dioxide is 0.7 mmol/l. The DNA base composition is 51.9 mol% guanine plus cytosine. The nameMethanothrix is proposed for this new genus of filamentous methane bacterium. The type species,Methanothrix soehngenii sp. nov., is named in honor of N. L. Söhngen.

Key words

Methane bacterium Acetate decarboxylation Methanothirx soehngenii 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beat A. Huser
    • 1
    • 2
  • Karl Wuhrmann
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alexander J. B. Zehnder
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Swiss Federal Institute of TechnologyZürichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Federal Institute for Water Resources and Water Pollution ControlDübendorfSwitzerland

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