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Methanosphaerula palustris

Methanosphaerula palustris is the first cultured methanogen of the “E1 group” in the Methanomicrobiales order, which is a commonly abundant phylotype in peatlands. Its energy generation is accomplished through the reduction of carbon dioxide with hydrogen, resulting in the production of methane. Peatlands contain about 30% of terrestrial soil carbon and contribute an estimated 20% of total annual methane flux to the atmosphere. The study of  peatland methanogens is of interest in order to understand thei contribution to atmospheric greenhouse gases. M. palustris thrives in highly reduced environments and is very sensitive to oxygen. Its mildly acidic optimum pH for growth (pH 5.5) is interesting given the acidic nature of many peatlands and the fact that most cultured methane producing organisms have pH optima at or near neutral (pH 7.0). It grows well in low-ionic strength environments at moderate temperatures (28-30 OC). M. palustris features an atypical cell envelope that confers resistance to lysis by detergents that other members of the Methanomicrobiales order are sensitive to.


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