Methanogen species

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This Funk Microbial Biorealm Genus template page is a guide for each student when creating and adding an entirely new species to MicrobeWiki. COPY AND PASTE this entire template (below) to set up a new page for a new species entry, then begin to fill in and edit the page. State at the bottom of the page that the page is "Authored by [your Student Name]" in front of "a student of CJ Funk at John Brown University".



Higher order taxa

Methanosarcinales Domain; Phylum; Class; Order; family [Others may be used. Use NCBI link to find]


NCBI: Taxonomy

Genus species

Description and Significance

a. Methanosarcina are methanogens and they can form multicellular colonies. They are found in the rumen of cows, sheep, goats, deer, and the large intestine in humans. The three most commonly studied methanosarcinas are M. acetivorans, M. mazei, and M. barkeri. All methanogens (except methanosarcina) can utilize two methanogenic substrates and they only have a single pathway for methanogenesis. Methanosarcina, however, can utilize no less than 9 substrates, and it has 3 pathways for methanogenesis. M. acetivorans were discovered by microbiologist J. Ferry in 1984 in a mass of kelp in a trench that was underwater in southern California. There was recently a study done on M. barkeri because a 22nd amino acid (pyrrolysine) was detected in the active site of the enzyme methanogenic methylamine methyltransferase. M. barkeri and M. mazei are autotrophic, but M. acetivorans are not.

b. Methanosarcina has alot of different morphological forms: there are single cells that have a cell envelope, single cells that don't have a cell envelope, and there are also multicellular packets and lamina. The multicellular packets and lamina displayed internal morphological density. Methanosarcina are coccid and have cell walls made of protein, and usually have an external wall made of heteropolysaccharide. Most Methanosarcina are also covered in a polymeric network of methanochondritin that's external to an S-layer.

Include a link if there is an existing microbewiki page for this genus (Ex. Salmonella). and genetics==

Nutrition and Growth

a. To what major branch of the prokaryotes do they belong? (see textbook or Bergey’s). List 2-3 closely related but separate species or genera of bacteria.

b. Briefly describe any extra-chromosomal elements or genetic tools that are used to study the bacterium: viruses, plasmids, transposons that allow genetic manipulation and analysis.

c. Has the genome or genomes been sequenced? If so, include the website for the database and one or two highlights of the genome. Also indicate genome size (base pairs), %G+C (nucleotide base composition) and number of genes, and specific genes or gene regions that are unique to this organism. If it has not been sequenced, give its closest relative that has been sequenced, its website, and some general information about the related sequence.

Example: The sequence of Haemophilus influenzae was determined using whole genome shotgun sequencing (Fleischmann et al. 1995).

Nutrition and metabolism

a.Describe the growth characteristics of your bacterial species; sources of C, N, electrons; respires/ferments, uses O2, etc.

b.What kinds of culture conditions (temp, pH, media) are needed for laboratory study?

c.What kinds of waste, by-products, volatile compounds are generated?

Ecology / Pathology

Ecology: How is your microorganism important in the ecosystem where it is found? How does it impact other organisms in the environment (could be positive or negative impact)?

Pathology: How does the microbe cause disease as it interacts with the host? Describe any specific toxins or pathways that are used for invading and causing disease in the host. What treatment is used to inhibit or kill the microbe?

Current Research

Describe recent research and findings that have been done with this organism. The research can be clinical, applied or basic research. This section should be based on 2 recent papers (10 years or less) and summarized in your own words.


Bauer, Dana. 2004. Pathways for Life. Penn State University.

Unknown. Methanosarcina acetivorans C2A. Bacmap genome atlas.

Authored by [Hannah Malone], a student of CJ Funk at John Brown University