Methanogenesis pp 253-303 | Cite as

Conversion of Methanol and Methylamines to Methane and Carbon Dioxide

  • Jan T. Keltjens
  • Godfried D. Vogels
Part of the Chapman & Hall Microbiology Series book series (CHMBS)


The first report on methane formation from a methylated one-carbon compound, notably methanol, goes back to 1920 (Groenewegen, 1920). In the thirties, methylotrophic methanogens were systematically studied in the laboratory of Kluy ver and Van Niel (1936). Here, Barker (1936) enriched an organism, then called Methanococcus mazei, which was capable of growth not only on methanol, but also on butanol and acetone. The organism was not pure and the original cultures were lost. Only about 40 years later, the methanogen that met the original description was reisolated and renamed Methanosarcina mazei (Mah, 1980; Mah and Kuhn, 1984). The first methylotroph obtained in axenic culture, and in fact one of the first pure methanogenic species, was isolated by Schnellen (1936), a student of Kluyver. Again, the original cultures of the organism, Methanosarcina barkeri, were lost. M. barkeri has been reisolated as a number of distinct strains from a variety of sources. The type strain, MS, was obtained by Bryant in 1966 (Bryant, 1966; Bryant and Boone, 1987). Biochemically, M. barkeri is the best studied methylotrophic methanogen and most of the work reviewed in this chapter refers to it.


Methanol Oxidation Methanol Conversion Methanogenic Bacterium Methanosarcina Barkeri Methyl Group Oxidation 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan T. Keltjens
  • Godfried D. Vogels

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