Despite the fact that rice paddy fields (RPFs) are contributing 10 to 25% of global methane emissions, the organisms responsible for methane production in RPFs have remained uncultivated and thus uncharacterized. Here we report the isolation of a methanogen (strain SANAE) belonging to an abundant and ubiquitous group of methanogens called rice cluster I (RC-I) previously identified as an ecologically important microbial component via culture-independent analyses. To enrich the RC-I methanogens from rice paddy samples, we attempted to mimic the in situ conditions of RC-I on the basis of the idea that methanogens in such ecosystems should thrive by receiving low concentrations of substrate (H 2) continuously provided by heterotrophic H2-producing bacteria. For this purpose, we developed a coculture method using an indirect substrate (propionate) in defined medium and a propionate-oxidizing, H 2-producing syntroph, Syntrophobacter fumaroxidans, as the H 2 supplier. By doing so, we significantly enriched the RC-I methanogens and eventually obtained a methanogen within the RC-I group in pure culture. This is the first report on the isolation of a methanogen within RC-I.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology