Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 104, Issue 1, pp 129–134 | Cite as

Bacterial methanogenesis: Acetate as a methane precursor in pure culture

  • J. G. Zeikus
  • P. J. Weimer
  • D. R. Nelson
  • L. Daniels
Article

Abstract

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 Bacteria Methanosarcina barkeri Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum Substrates for Methanogenesis Acetate Utilization Chemolithotrophy 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bryant, M. P., Robinson, I. M.: An improved non-selective culture medium for ruminal bacteria and its use in determining diurnal variation in number of bacteria in the rumen. J. Dairy Sci. 44, 1446–1456 (1961)Google Scholar
  2. Cappenberg, Th. E., Prins, R. A.: Interrelations between sulfate-reducing and methane producing bacteria in bottom deposits of a fresh-water lake. III. Experiments with 14C-labeled substrates. Antonie v. Leeuwenhoek 40, 456–469 (1974)Google Scholar
  3. Chen, R. L., Keeney, D. R., Konrad, J. G., Holding, A. J., Graetz, D. A.: Gas metabolism in sediments of Lake Mendota. J. Environ. Quanlity 1, 155–156 (1972)Google Scholar
  4. Decker, K., Jungermann, K., Thauer, R. K.: Energy production in anaerobic organisms. Angew. Chem. Internat. Edit. 9, 138–158 (1970)Google Scholar
  5. Hungate, R. E.: The anaerobic mesophilic cellulolytic bacteria. Bact. Rev. 14, 1–49 (1950)Google Scholar
  6. Jeris, J. S., McCarty, P. L.: The biochemistry of methane fermentation using C14 tracers. J. Water Poll. Control Fed. 37, 178–192 (1965)Google Scholar
  7. Kirsch, E. J., Sikes, R. M.: Anaerobic digestion in biological waste treatment. Progr. Ind. Microbiol. 9, 155–239 (1971)Google Scholar
  8. Lawrence, A. W., McCarty, P. L.: Kinetics of methane fermentation in anaerobic treatment. J. Water Poll. Control Fed. 41, R1-R17 (1969)Google Scholar
  9. McCarty, P. L.: Thermodynamics of biological synthesis and growth. In: Adv. Water Poll. Res., p. 169–186. New York: Pergamon Press 1975Google Scholar
  10. Nelson, D. R.: Studies on microbial methanogenesis in Lake Mendota. Dissertation, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wi. (1974)Google Scholar
  11. Nelson, D. R., Zeikus, J. G.: Rapid method for the radioisotopic analysis of gaseous end products of anaerobic metabolism. Appl. Microbiol. 28, 258–261 (1974)Google Scholar
  12. Pine, M. J., Barker, H. A.: Studies on the methane fermentation. XII. The pathway of hydrogen in acetate fermentation. J. Bact. 71, 644–648 (1956)Google Scholar
  13. Pretorius, W. A.: The effect of formate on the growth of acetate utilizing methanogenic bacteria. Water Res. 6, 1213–1217 (1972)Google Scholar
  14. Smith, P. H., Mah, R. A.: Kinetics of acetate metabolism during sludge digestion. Appl. Microbiol. 14, 368–371 (1966)Google Scholar
  15. Stadtman, T. C., Barker, H. A.: Studies on the methane fermentation. VII. Tracer studies. Arch. Biochem. 21, 256–264 (1949)Google Scholar
  16. Stadtman, T. C., Barker, H. A.: Studies on the methane fermentation. IX. The origin of methane in the acetate and methanol fermentations by Methanosarcina. J. Bact. 61, 81–86 (1951)Google Scholar
  17. Toerien, D. E., Thiel, P. G., Pretorius, W. A.: Substrate flow in anaerobic digestion. Adv. Water Poll. Res. 11, 2911–2917 (1971)Google Scholar
  18. Wolfe, R. S.: Microbial formation of methane, p. 107–146. In: A. H. Rose, J. F. Wilkinson, eds., Adv. microbial physiol., Vol. 6. New York-London: Academic Press 1971)Google Scholar
  19. Wolin, E. A., Wolin, M. J., Wolfe, R. S.: Formation of methane by bacterial extracts. J. biol. Chem. 238, 2882–2886 (1963)Google Scholar
  20. Zeikus, J. G., Ward, J. G.: Methane formation in living trees: a microbial origin. Science 184, 1181–1183 (1974)Google Scholar
  21. Zeikus, J. G., Wolfe, R. S.: Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum sp. n., an anaerobic, autotrophic, extreme thermophile. J. Bact. 109, 707–713 (1972)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. G. Zeikus
    • 1
  • P. J. Weimer
    • 1
  • D. R. Nelson
    • 1
  • L. Daniels
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BacteriologyUniversity of WisconsinMadison

Personalised recommendations