Methanolobus vulcani

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A Microbial Biorealm page on the genus Methanolobus vulcani

M. vulcani under the microscope . Courtesy of [ .]


Higher order taxa

Domain (Archaea); Phylum (Euryarchaeota); Class (Methanomicrobia); Order (Methanosacinales); Family (Methanosarcinaceae); Genus (Methanolobus)


Methanolobus vulcani

Description and significance

Methanolobus vulcani is a prokaryotic Archaea. M. vulcani comes from Vulcan, the Roman god of fire, in which Vulcano Island was named. It is a gram-negative stain, lysed with detergents. Biotin and catabolic substrates are two components required to grow M. vulcani, but yeast and peptones stimulate its growth [2]. Catabolic pathways use substrates to oxidize the electrons and use the excess energy to make ATP. In addition to the catabolic pathways, the vitamin biotin is required for all cells to grow [1]. The Methanolobus genus is halophilic and methylotrophic. This means that it prefers to live in extreme environments (halophile) and they can take their carbon from methanol or methane (methylotrophic). M. vulcani is one of only five species within the genus Methanolobus [2]. The significance of M. vulcani is that it’s a methylotroph, meaning it can use methane and other pollutants. Methanol is relatively cheap and very abundant. It is commonly broken down by these methylotrophs in order to make things we need in our lives in order to survive. Some things that methylotrophs produce are amino acids, vitamins, proteins, co-enzymes, and cytochromes [4].

Genome structure

Placement within the Methanolobus genus is based upon the analysis of the 16S rRNA sequences and its similarity to the other five organisms within the same genus [5].

Reproductive Cycle

The Methanolobus vulcani is a part of the Archaea kingdom. Archaea reproduce asexually. An asexual cell divides by binary fission, in which each chromosome is copied and then the nucleus will divide and each new cell gets a copy of the parent’s DNA. Many problems may arise from reproducing asexually, one of which is that if there is a genetic fault within the cell, then every offspring will be infected. However, the advantage that the M. vulcani has for reproducing asexually is that, they do not have to search for mates. Therefore, M. vulcani reproduces asexually due to the fact that they live deep in the ocean at very high temperatures and pressures [1][3].


M. vulcani are classified under the Methanosarcinales family. This family is classified as and organotroph (otherwise known as a chemoheterotroph). An organotroph gets its energy from organic compounds, and it receives its carbon from carbon fixation. This means that the M. vulcani receives its nutrients by assimilate the organic carbon produced by other autotrophs. The M. vulcani grows by taking the carbon made by the other autotrophs around it and then takes the carbon and turns it into an organic compound in which they use in order to become stronger. Therefore, the M. vulcani feed on the autotrophs in order to consume the necessary organic compounds that are necessary for their survival [3].


According to certain studies [1], M. vulcani can grow the best at values around the pH of 7.5, which also happens to be the pH of sea water. The cells do show significant growth from pH 6-7.8. Anything outside of the range, the M. vulcani does not show significant growth levels [6]. Similar studies also show growth in terms of temperature levels and NaCl concentrations. M. vulcani shows that it has an effective growth range from 35°C-42°C (95°F-108°F) with the most effective growth temperature being 40°C (104°F). While studies show that M. vulcani can grow best at high temperatures and a slightly basic pH, they also show that the M. vulcani grows at fairly high NaCl concentrations. M. vulcani grows best at a range from 0.1M-1.2M solutions of NaCl, with the M. vulcani growing the best at concentrations .5M [6].

Cell and Colony structure

Methanolobus vulcani cells resemble strains that are irregular coccoidal in shape. The cells have diameters that range from 1.0-1.25 micrometers. It generally grows in colonies shown by the diagram at the top of the page.


[1]Campbell, Neil A., and Jane B. Reece. Biology. 8th ed. N.p.: Pearson Education, 2008.

[2]Kadam, Priya C., and David R. Boone. "Methanolobus Vulcani." Taxonomy Browser., n.d. Web. 9 Feb. 2013. <>.

[3]Kadam, Priya C., and David R. Boone. "Physiological Characterization and Emended Description of Methanolobus Vulcani." International Journal of Systematic Bacteriology 45.2 (1995): 400-02.

[4]"Methanosarcinales." Encyclopdie Savoirfr RSS., n.d. Web. 09 Feb. 2013.

[5]Springer, Erik, Carl R. Woese, Matthew S. Sachs, and David R. Boone. "Partial Gene Sequences for the A Subunit of Methyl-Coenzyme M Reductase (mcrI) as a Phylogenetic Tool for the Family Methanosarcinaceae." International Journal of Systematic Bacteriology 45.3 (1995): 554-59.

[6] Stetter, K. O. "Genus II. Methanolobus." Bergey's manual of systematic bacteriology 3 (1989): 2205-2207.

Edited by Alexander Smelcer, student of Dr. Lisa R. Moore, University of Southern Maine, Department of Biological Sciences,