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Volume 2017, Article ID 2756573, 12 pages
Research Article

Growth Characteristics of Methanomassiliicoccus luminyensis and Expression of Methyltransferase Encoding Genes

Institut für Mikrobiologie und Biotechnologie, Universität Bonn, Bonn, Germany

Correspondence should be addressed to Uwe Deppenmeier; ed.nnob-inu@neppedu

Received 18 July 2017; Accepted 24 September 2017; Published 2 November 2017

Academic Editor: William W. Metcalf

Copyright © 2017 Lena Kröninger et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


DNA sequence analysis of the human gut revealed the presence a seventh order of methanogens referred to as Methanomassiliicoccales. Methanomassiliicoccus luminyensis is the only member of this order that grows in pure culture. Here, we show that the organism has a doubling time of 1.8 d with methanol + H2 and a growth yield of 2.4 g dry weight/mol CH4. M. luminyensis also uses methylamines + H2 (monomethylamine, dimethylamine, and trimethylamine) with doubling times of 2.1–2.3 d. Similar cell yields were obtained with equimolar concentrations of methanol and methylamines with respect to their methyl group contents. The transcript levels of genes encoding proteins involved in substrate utilization indicated increased amounts of mRNA from the mtaBC2 gene cluster in methanol-grown cells. When methylamines were used as substrates, mRNA of the mtb/mtt operon and of the mtmBC1 cluster were found in high abundance. The transcript level of mtaC2 was almost identical in methanol- and methylamine-grown cells, indicating that genes for methanol utilization were constitutively expressed in high amounts. The same observation was made with resting cells where methanol always yielded the highest CH4 production rate independently from the growth substrate. Hence, M. luminyensis is adapted to habitats that provide methanol + H2 as substrates.