MethanobrevibacterDid we forget anything? Let us know

Genus nameMethanobrevibacter
Alternative namesM. smithii was formerly Methanobacterium ruminantium
NCBI taxonomy ID2172

Taxonomy (MiDAS 2.0)


16S gene copy number2-3

 In situOther
Hydrophobic cell surface34

Morphology of strain RFM-1 by F420 epifluorescence microscopy (A) and by TEM of a thin section (B). Bars, 5 micron (A) and 0.4 micron (B). - Source:14

Short-chain fatty acids
Proteins/Amino acids

POSNEGVariableNot assessed


Methanobrevibacter are hydrogenotrophic methanogens 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18, belonging to the Domain Archaea. In pure culture, methane is produced by the assimilation of H2 + CO2 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 and sometimes formate 12 16 18. Growth occurs under strictly anaerobic conditions 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18. In M. cuticularis methanogenesis and O2 reduction have been shown to occur simultaneously 19. Cells are coccobacilli which may occur singly, in pairs or in short chains 11 12 14 15 16 17 18. Currently, only two species in the Genus, M. filiformis and M. smithii, are capable of forming filaments 13 18. Methanobrevibacter are normal residents of the human and ruminant gut, where they commonly form endosymbiotic relationships with protozoa in the latter. Little is known about the in situ physiology of the Genus in anaerobic digesters.

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FISH probes

MB1174 and MB310 specific for the family Methanobacteriaceae 2. Pseudomurein endoisopeptidase (Pei) treatment is recommended prior to FISH studies to improve probe hybridization 1 20.


 In situOther
Aerobic Heterotroph121314151718
Nitrite Reduction
Sulfate Reduction
Short-chain Fatty Acids121618
Proteins/Amino Acids1424

Abundance Information

 10 % percentileMedian90 % percentile
Activated Sludge000

Predominant InAD


[1] Nakamura, Terada, Sekiguchi, Shinzato, Meng, Enoki, et al. (2006): Application of pseudomurein endoisopeptidase to fluorescence in situ hybridization of methanogens within the family Methanobacteriaceae. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 72(11): 6907-13. doi:10.1128/AEM.01499-06

[2] Raskin, Stromley, Rittmann, Stahl (1994): Group-specific 16S rRNA hybridization probes to describe natural communities of methanogens. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 60(4): 1232-40.

[3] Daffonchio, Thaveesri, Verstraete (1995): Contact angle measurement and cell hydrophobicity of granular sludge from upflow anaerobic sludge bed reactors. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 61(10): 3676-80.

[4] Grotenhuis, Plugge, Stams, Zehnder (1992): Hydrophobicities and electrophoretic mobilities of anaerobic bacterial isolates from methanogenic granular sludge. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 58(3): 1054-6.

[5] - NCBI genome database, NCBI id 2171 -

[6] Hansen, Lozupone, Rey, Wu, Guruge, Narra, et al. (2011): Pan-genome of the dominant human gut-associated archaeon, Methanobrevibacter smithii, studied in twins. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 108 Suppl 1(): 4599-606. doi:10.1073/pnas.1000071108

[7] Samuel, Hansen, Manchester, Coutinho, Henrissat, Fulton, et al. (2007): Genomic and metabolic adaptations of Methanobrevibacter smithii to the human gut. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 104(25): 10643-8. doi:10.1073/pnas.0704189104

[8] Leahy, Kelly, Altermann, Ronimus, Yeoman, Pacheco, et al. (2010): The genome sequence of the rumen methanogen Methanobrevibacter ruminantium reveals new possibilities for controlling ruminant methane emissions. PLoS ONE 5(1): e8926. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008926

[9] Lee, Rhee, Kumar, Lee, Chang, Kim, et al. (2013): Genome sequence of Methanobrevibacter sp. strain jh1, isolated from rumen of Korean native cattle. Genome Announc 1(1): . doi:10.1128/genomeA.00002-13

[10] Kelly, Li, Lambie, Cox, Attwood, Altermann, et al. (2016): Draft Genome Sequence of the Rumen Methanogen Methanobrevibacter olleyae YLM1. Genome Announc 4(2): . doi:10.1128/genomeA.00232-16

[11] Savant, Shouche, Prakash, Ranade (2002): Methanobrevibacter acididurans sp. nov., a novel methanogen from a sour anaerobic digester. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 52(Pt 4): 1081-7. doi:10.1099/00207713-52-4-1081

[12] Lee, Kumar, Lee, Chang, Rhee, Yoon, et al. (2013): Methanobrevibacter boviskoreani sp. nov., isolated from the rumen of Korean native cattle. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 63(Pt 11): 4196-201. doi:10.1099/ijs.0.054056-0

[13] Leadbetter, Crosby, Breznak (1998): Methanobrevibacter filiformis sp. nov., A filamentous methanogen from termite hindguts. Arch. Microbiol. 169(4): 287-92.

[14] Leadbetter, Breznak (1996): Physiological ecology of Methanobrevibacter cuticularis sp. nov. and Methanobrevibacter curvatus sp. nov., isolated from the hindgut of the termite Reticulitermes flavipes. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 62(10): 3620-31.

[15] Miller, Lin (2002): Description of Methanobrevibacter gottschalkii sp. nov., Methanobrevibacter thaueri sp. nov., Methanobrevibacter woesei sp. nov. and Methanobrevibacter wolinii sp. nov.. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 52(Pt 3): 819-22. doi:10.1099/00207713-52-3-819

[16] Rea, Bowman, Popovski, Pimm, Wright (2007): Methanobrevibacter millerae sp. nov. and Methanobrevibacter olleyae sp. nov., methanogens from the ovine and bovine rumen that can utilize formate for growth. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 57(Pt 3): 450-6. doi:10.1099/ijs.0.63984-0

[17] Ferrari, A., Brusa, T., Rutili, A., Canzi, E., Biavati, B. (1994) Isolation and characterisation of Methanobrevibacter oralis sp. Nov. Current Microbiology. 29: 7-12. - Ferrari Et Al 1994docx -

[18] Balch, Fox, Magrum, Woese, Wolfe (1979): Methanogens: reevaluation of a unique biological group. Microbiol. Rev. 43(2): 260-96.

[19] Tholen, Pester, Brune (2007): Simultaneous methanogenesis and oxygen reduction by Methanobrevibacter cuticularis at low oxygen fluxes. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. 62(3): 303-12. doi:10.1111/j.1574-6941.2007.00390.x

[20] Kubota, Imachi, Kawakami, Nakamura, Harada, Ohashi, et al. (2008): Evaluation of enzymatic cell treatments for application of CARD-FISH to methanogens. J. Microbiol. Methods 72(1): 54-9. doi:10.1016/j.mimet.2007.10.006

[21] Hara, K., Shinzato, N., Oshima, T., Yamagishi, A. (2004) Endosymbiotic Methanobrevibacter species living in symbiotic protists of the termite Reticulitermes speratus detected by fluorescent in situ hybridisation. Microbes environ. 19(2): 120-127. - Hara Et Al 2004docx -

[22] Shinzato, Matsumoto, Yamaoka, Oshima, Yamagishi (1999): Phylogenetic diversity of symbiotic methanogens living in the hindgut of the lower termite Reticulitermes speratus analyzed by PCR and in situ hybridization. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 65(2): 837-40.

[23] Chassard, Bernalier-Donadille (2006): H2 and acetate transfers during xylan fermentation between a butyrate-producing xylanolytic species and hydrogenotrophic microorganisms from the human gut. FEMS Microbiol. Lett. 254(1): 116-22. doi:10.1111/j.1574-6968.2005.00016.x

[24] Sponza, D.T., and Cigal, C. (2008) Relationships between anaerobic consortia and removal efficiencies in an UASB reactor degrading 2,4, dichlorophenol (DCP). J. Environ. Manage. 87(1): 177-92. - Sponza And Cigal 2008docx -

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