, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 13–21 | Cite as

Production of C35 isoprenoids depends on H2 availability during cultivation of the hyperthermophile Methanococcus jannaschii

  • Brendan P. Manquin
  • John A. Morgan
  • Jaeyeong Ju
  • Thomas Müller-Späth
  • Douglas S. ClarkEmail author
Original Paper


A series of five progressively saturated C35 isoprenoids has been identified in cell-free extracts of the deep-sea methanogen Methanococcus jannaschii. Production and relative abundance of the isoprenoids were dependent on culture conditions; significant production occurred in a 16-l fermentor (12-l working volume) and a 2.5-l fermentor (2-l working volume) but could not be duplicated in serum bottles. Several factors were investigated and shown not to account for the different production levels, including medium composition, pH, and temperature. However, the interphase mass transfer rate was shown to significantly affect the production of C35 isoprenoids in a fermentor. The structures of the novel isoprenoids were confirmed by hydrogenation reactions and mass spectra of the isoprenoids. Indirect evidence based on genomics and mass spectrometry data implicates head-to-head condensation of farnesyl pyrophosphate (C15) with geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate (C20) as the mechanism for C35 synthesis.


Archaeal membranes Barophiles Isoprenoids Mass transfer coefficients Methanogens Thermophiles 



This work was supported by the National Science Foundation under Award Numbers EEC-9731725 and BES-0224733. The authors are grateful to Eric Johnson, David Boone, Stephen Zinder, and Chan Beum Park for helpful discussions and to Boonchai Boonyaratanakornkit for performing the water bath cultures.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brendan P. Manquin
    • 1
  • John A. Morgan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jaeyeong Ju
    • 1
  • Thomas Müller-Späth
    • 1
  • Douglas S. Clark
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.Department of Chemical EngineeringPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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