Mixed Methanotrophic Consortium for Applications in Environmental Bioengineering and Biocatalysis

  • Hao Jiang
  • Xin-Hui Xing


A mixed methanotrophic consortium (MMC) is generally considered to be a complex mixed culture system where methanotrophs predominate and coexist with other microorganisms. MMCs not only have the unique characteristics of methanotrophs like methane assimilation and broad substrate range but also can overcome the shortcomings in pure methanotrophic cultivation like slow growth rate, difficulty in growing high cell density, and poor MMO stability, indicating their promising prospects in environmental bioengineering and biocatalysis. This chapter focuses on the acquisition of MMCs, interactions among methanotrophs and their coexisting heterotrophs, and recent highlights on theoretical research and engineering trials. MMCs can be obtained through enrichment culture from methane-rich environments, mixing different methanotrophs together or stimulating the indigenous methane-oxidizing bacteria for in situ applications. Large-scale and rapid preparation and long-term preservation of MMCs with stable function and community structure are achievable by appropriate methods. Methanotrophs and the coexisting heterotrophs in MMCs can exchange metabolites and also interact with each other via more complex metabolisms and synergic effects, forming a huge, multi-role, and dynamic ecological network. In environmental bioengineering, applying MMCs in methane mitigation and co-metabolism of contaminants are more promising. Single cell protein is a useful bioproduct capable of being produced by MMCs, and biopolymer like PHB by MMCs also has bright prospect. Combined with other functional systems and exploration of biological dark matter of a consortium, MMCs can greatly expand the application fields. With the advances in multi-omic analysis of methanotrophs and the development of synthetic biology and ecoinformatics, more achievements for MMCs can be expected.





aerobic methane oxidation coupled to denitrification






continuous stirred tank reactor


dimethyl sulfoxide


dissolved oxygen


dry weight






alkylbenzene sulfonate


mixed methanotrophic consortium


mixed methanotrophic consortia


methane monooxygenase


methane-oxidizing bacteria


methane oxidation capacity


nitrate mineral salt


plug flow reactor






particulate methane monooxygenase


ribulose monophosphate


single cell protein


soluble methane monooxygenase








trehalose and tryptic soy broth


vinyl chloride


volatile suspended solids


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hao Jiang
    • 1
  • Xin-Hui Xing
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of New EnergyChina University of PetroleumBeijingChina
  2. 2.MOE Key Lab of Industrial Biocatalysis, Department of Chemical Engineering, Centre for Synthetic and Systems BiologyTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina

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