Methanosarcina Barkeri
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Methanosarcina Barkeri

Methanosarcina barkeri
Methanosarcina barkeri fusaro.gif
Methanosarcina barkeri fusaro
Scientific classification
M. barkeri
Binomial name
Methanosarcina barkeri
Schnellen 1947

Methanosarcina barkeri is the most fundamental species of the genus Methanosarcina, and their properties apply generally to the genus Methanosarcina.[1] Methanosarcina barkeri can produce methane anaerobically through different metabolic pathways. M. barkeri can subsume a variety of molecules for ATP production, including methanol, acetate, methylamines, and different forms of hydrogen and carbon dioxide.[1] Although it is a slow developer and is sensitive to change in environmental conditions, M. barkeri is able to grow in a variety of different substrates, adding to its appeal for genetic analysis.[2] Additionally, M. barkeri is the first organism in which the amino acid pyrrolysine was found.[3] Furthermore, two strains of M. barkeri, M. b. Fusaro and M. b. MS have been identified to possess an F-type ATPase (unusual for archaea, but common for bacteria, mitochondria and chloroplasts) along with an A-type ATPase.[4]

Location and structure

The fusaro strain of M. barkeri was found in mud samples taken from Lake Fusaro, a freshwater lake near Naples.[2] M. barkeri also lives in the rumen of cattle, where it works in tandem with other microbes to digest polymers.[2] Methanosarcina barkeri can also be found in sewage, landfills, and in other freshwater systems.[2]

Morphology of Methanosarcina cells depends on growing conditions, e.g. on salt concentrations.[5] M. barkeri shows this variable morphology: when grown in freshwater medium, these microbes grow into large, multicellular aggregates embedded in a matrix of methanochondroitin, while growing in marine environment as single, irregular cocci,[5] only surrounded by the S-layer, but no methanochondroitin.[6] The aggregates can grow large enough to be seen by the naked eye.[7] Methanosarcina could produce positive Gram stain,[7] but generally, it is Gram variable.[8] M. barkeri has a thick cell wall compounded by a short lipid cell membrane that is similar in structure to most other methanogens.[6] However, its cell walls do not contain peptidoglycan.[9] M. barkeri str. fusaro has no flagellum but has potential for movement through the creation of gas vesicles.[6] These gas vesicles have only been produced in the presence of hydrogen and carbon dioxide, likely acting as a response to a hydrogen gradient.[6] M. barkeris chromosome is large and circular, derived from its remarkable ability to metabolize a variety of different carbon molecules.[6] This offers the species an advantage as though it is immotile, it can adapt to its environment depending on the energy sources available. M. barkeris circular plasmid consists of about twenty[a] genes.[6]

Applications and importance

Methanosarcina barkeris unique nature as an anaerobic methanogen that ferments many carbon sources can have many implications for future biotechnology and environmental studies.[1] As M. barkeri is found in the rumen of cows, a place with an extreme dearth of oxygen, it is classified as an extreme anaerobe.[10] Furthermore, the methane gas produced by cows due to M. barkeri could play a role in greenhouse gas production.[10] However, since M. barkeri can survive in extreme conditions and produce methane, M. barkeri can be implemented in low pH ecosystems, effectively neutralizing the acidity environment, and making it more amenable for other methanogens.[10] This, in turn, would allow people to harness the pure methane produced at landfills or through cow waste.[10] Evidently, the implications of M. barkeri are those aligned with potential alternative energy and investment.[10]


  1. ^ In "Methanosarcina barkeri str. Fusaro plasmid 1, complete sequence", GenBank: CP000098.1, 20 genes were annotated, 18 for "CDS" and two for "pseudo".


  1. ^ a b c Balch, W.E. (1979). "Methanogens:reevaluation of a unique biological group". Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews. 43 (2): 260-96. doi:10.1128/mmbr.43.2.260-296.1979. PMC 281474. PMID 390357.
  2. ^ a b c d Brill, Jessica. "Methanosarcina barkeri Fusaro, DSM 804". Archived from the original on 13 July 2015. Retrieved 2014.
  3. ^ Atkins, John; Gesteland, Ray (24 May 2002). "The 22nd Amino Acid". Science Magazine. 296 Idoi=10.1126/science.1073339 (5572): 1409-1410. doi:10.1126/science.1073339. PMID 12029118.
  4. ^ Saum, Regina; et al. (2009). "The F1FO ATP synthase genes in Methanosarcina acetivorans are dispensable for growth and ATP synthesis". FEMS Microbiology Letters. 300 (2): 230-236. doi:10.1111/j.1574-6968.2009.01785.x. PMID 19796137.
  5. ^ a b Sowers, K. R.; Boone, J. E.; Gunsalus, R. P. (1993). "Disaggregation of Methanosarcina spp. and Growth as Single Cells at Elevated Osmolarity". Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 59 (11): 3832-3839. doi:10.1128/AEM.59.11.3832-3839.1993. ISSN 0099-2240. PMC 182538. PMID 16349092.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Maeder, Dennis; Anderson, Iian (November 2006). "The Methanosarcina barkeri Genome: Comparative Analysis with Methanosarcina acetivorans and Methanosarcina mazei Reveals Extensive Rearrangement within Methanosarcinal Genomes". Journal of Bacteriology. 188 (22): 7922-7931. doi:10.1128/JB.00810-06. PMC 1636319. PMID 16980466.
  7. ^ a b Balch, W. E.; Fox, G. E.; Magrum, L. J.; Woese, C. R.; Wolfe, R. S. (1979). "Methanogens: reevaluation of a unique biological group". Microbiological Reviews. 43 (2): 260-296. doi:10.1128/MMBR.43.2.260-296.1979. ISSN 0146-0749. PMC 281474. PMID 390357.
  8. ^ Boone, David R.; Mah, Robert A. (14 September 2015), Whitman, William B; Rainey, Fred; Kämpfer, Peter; Trujillo, Martha (eds.), "Methanosarcina", Bergey's Manual of Systematics of Archaea and Bacteria, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, pp. 1-15, doi:10.1002/9781118960608.gbm00519, ISBN 9781118960608
  9. ^ Kandler, Otto; Hippe, Hans (1977). "Lack of peptidoglycan in the cell walls of Methanosarcina barkeri". Archives of Microbiology. 113 (1-2): 57-60. doi:10.1007/bf00428580. PMID 889387.
  10. ^ a b c d e Hook, Sarah; McBride, Brian (December 2010). "Methanogens: Methane Producers of the Rumen and Mitigation Strategies". Archaea. 2010: 11. doi:10.1155/2010/945785. PMC 3021854. PMID 21253540.

Further reading

External links

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