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Methanogenic archaea database containing physiological and biochemical characteristics

Slawomir J Jablonski, Pawel Rodowicz and Marcin Lukaszewicz

Uniwersytet Wrocławski, Politechnika Wrocławska.


Methanogenic archaea are a group of microorganisms, which developed unique metabolic pathway for obtaining energy. There are 150 characterized species in this group, however new species are being discovered. Since methanogens are considered a crucial part of the carbon cycle in the anaerobic ecosystem, the characterization of these microorganisms is important for understanding anaerobic ecology. Methanogens database (MDB) http://metanogen.biotech.uni.wroc.pl/ including physiological and biochemical characteristics of methanogens was constructed, based on the description of isolated type strains. Analysis of the data revealed that methanogens are able to grow from 0°C to 122°C. Methanogens growing at the same temperature may have very different growth rates. There is no clear correlation between the optimal growth temperature and the DNA G+C content. The following substrate preferences are observed in the database: 74.5% of archaea species utilize H2+CO2, 33% utilize methyl compounds and 8.5% utilize acetate. Utilization of methyl compounds (mainly microorganisms belonging to Methanosarcina and Methanolobus) is seldom accompanies by an ability to utilize H2+CO2. Very often described species have incomplete data, especially substrate preferences. Additional research leading to completion of missing information and development of standards especially for substrate utilization would be very helpful.


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