MethanosarcinaDid we forget anything? Let us know

Genus nameMethanosarcina
Alternative names
NCBI taxonomy ID2207

Taxonomy (MiDAS 2.0)


16S gene copy number1-3

 In situOther
Hydrophobic cell surface23

Short-chain fatty acids

POSNEGVariableNot assessed


Methanosarcina are methanogenic Archaea. They are metabolically versatile organisms, capable of utilizing all of the three known pathways of methanogenesis (acetoclastic, hydrogenotrophic and methylotrophic) for growth and methane production 7 20 21 22 8 9 23 24 10 25 26 27 28 29 11 12 13. Acetate, H2/CO2, methanol and methylamines are utilised as substrates for growth and energy, respectively 7 20 21 22 8 9 23 24 10 25 26 27 28 29 11 12 13. Species that use H2/CO2 can grow autotrophically 4 30 28 8 24 27 11 12 13. Growth occurs under strictly anaerobic conditions, although the genome sequences of some Methanosarcina species reveal the presence of cytochrome d oxidase subunits that are required for oxygen respiration, suggesting that these strains may potentially be aerotolerant 15 18 17. Cells may be regular or irregular cocci, that can occur singly, in pairs or tetrads, and sometimes form aggregates of packets of cocci 7 20 21 22 8 9 23 24 10 25 26 27 28 29 11 12 13.

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FISH probes

Genus specific probes MS821 1 and MB3 5 are recommended for targeting species of Methanosarcina. SARCI551 may also be used 31. MB3 allows for the detection of all mesophilic Methanosarcina species 5. Probe MB4 is specific for the type species, M. barkeri and is suggested to be used instead of MS821 when targeting this species, due to poor binding of MS821 5. MB4 also hybridizes with Methanosarcina sp. strain WH1, but this strain is unlikely to be found in municipal wastewater 5. Probes MB1 and SARCI645 are also designed to target species of the genus, however these probes also bind to Methanospirillum hungatei 5 and Methanococcoides methylutens 31 respectively. Several problems have been encountered whilst designing FISH probes for this genus 31.


 In situOther
Aerobic Heterotroph781213202324272829
Nitrite Reduction
Sulfate Reduction
Short-chain Fatty Acids6791011131516181920212223262728
Proteins/Amino Acids

Abundance Information

 10 % percentileMedian90 % percentile
Activated Sludge000

Predominant InAD - Thermophilic


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

[2] 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.

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

[4] Whitman, W. B., Bowen, T. L. and Boone, D. R. (2014) The methanogenic bacteria. In: The Prokaryotes; Rosenberg, E.; De Long, E.; Lory, S.; Stackebrandt, E.; Thomson, F., Eds.; Springer Berlin Heidelberg: Berlin, Heidelberg; pp. 123–163. - Whitman Et Al 2014 -

[5] Rocheleau, Greer, Lawrence, Cantin, Laramee, Guiot, et al. (1999): Differentiation of methanosaeta concilii and methanosarcina barkeri in anaerobic mesophilic granular sludge by fluorescent In situ hybridization and confocal scanning laser microscopy Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 65 (5): 2222-9.

[6] Collins, Mahony, Enright, Gieseke, de Beer, O'Flaherty, et al. (2007): Determination and localisation of in situ substrate uptake by anaerobic wastewater treatment granular biofilms. Water Sci. Technol. 55 (8-9): 369-76.

[7] Mah, R.A., and Kuhn, D.A. (1984) Rejection of the type species Methanosarcina methanica (Approved lists 1980), conservation of the genus Methanosarcina with Methanosarcina barkeri (Approved lists 1980) as the type species, and emendation of the genus Methanosarcina. Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol. 34(2): 266-267. - Mah And Kuhn 1984 -

[8] Blotevogel, K-H., and Fischer, U. (1989) Transfer of Methanococcus frisius to the genus Methanosarcina as Methanosarcina frisia comb. Nov. Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol. 39(1): 91-92. - Blotvogel And Fischer 1989 -

[9] Maestrojuan, G.M., Boone, J.E., Mah, R.A., Menaia, J.A.G.F., Sachs, M.S., and Boone, D.R. (1992) Taxonomy and halotolerance of mesophilic Methanosarcina strains, assignment of strains to species, and synonymy of Methanosarcina mazei and Methanosarcina frisia. Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol. 42(4): 561-67. - Maestrojuan Et Al 1992 -

[10] Mah, R.A., and Kuhn, D.A. (1984) Transfter of the type species of the genus Methanococcus to the genus Methanosarcina, naming it Methanosarcina mazei (Barker 1936) comb. Nov. et emend. And conservation of the genus Methanococcus (Approved lists 1980) with Methanococcus vannielii (Approved lists 1980) as the type species. Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol. 34(2): 263-265. - Mah And Kuhn 1984 -

[11] Zinder S.H.., Sowers, K.R., and Ferry, J.G. (1985) Methanosarcina thermophila sp. Nov., a thermophilic, acetotrophic, methane-producing bacterium. Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol. 35(4): 522-23. - Zinder Et Al 1985 -

[12] Zhilina, T.N., and Zavarzin, G.A. (1987) Methanosarcina vacuolata sp. Nov., a vacuolated Methanosarcina. Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol. 37(3): 281-83. - Zhilina And Zavarzin 1987 -

[13] Bryant, M.P., and Boone, D.R. (1987) Emended description of strain MST (DSM 800T), the type strain of Mmethanosarcina barkeri. Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol. 37(2): 169-170. - Bryant And Boone 1987 -

[14] - NCBI genome database, NCBI id 2207 -

[15] Town, Dumonceaux (2016): Laboratory-scale bioaugmentation relieves acetate accumulation and stimulates methane production in stalled anaerobic digesters. Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 100 (2): 1009-17. doi:10.1007/s00253-015-7058-3

[16] Lambie, Kelly, Leahy, Li, Reilly, McAllister, et al. (2015): The complete genome sequence of the rumen methanogen Methanosarcina barkeri CM1. Stand Genomic Sci 10 (): 57. doi:10.1186/s40793-015-0038-5

[17] Maeder, Anderson, Brettin, Bruce, Gilna, Han, et al. (2006): The Methanosarcina barkeri genome: comparative analysis with Methanosarcina acetivorans and Methanosarcina mazei reveals extensive rearrangement within methanosarcinal genomes. J. Bacteriol. 188 (22): 7922-31. doi:10.1128/JB.00810-06

[18] Galagan, Nusbaum, Roy, Endrizzi, Macdonald, FitzHugh, et al. (2002): The genome of M. acetivorans reveals extensive metabolic and physiological diversity. Genome Res. 12 (4): 532-42. doi:10.1101/gr.223902

[19] Guo, Peng, Ni, Han, Fan, Yuan, et al. (2015): Dissecting microbial community structure and methane-producing pathways of a full-scale anaerobic reactor digesting activated sludge from wastewater treatment by metagenomic sequencing. Microb. Cell Fact. 14 (): 33. doi:10.1186/s12934-015-0218-4

[20] Sowers, Baron, Ferry (1984): Methanosarcina acetivorans sp. nov., an Acetotrophic Methane-Producing Bacterium Isolated from Marine Sediments. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 47 (5): 971-8.

[21] von Klein, Arab, Völker, Thomm (2002): Methanosarcina baltica, sp. nov., a novel methanogen isolated from the Gotland Deep of the Baltic Sea. Extremophiles 6 (2): 103-10.

[22] Singh, Kendall, Liu, Boone (2005): Isolation and characterization of methylotrophic methanogens from anoxic marine sediments in Skan Bay, Alaska: description of Methanococcoides alaskense sp. nov., and emended description of Methanosarcina baltica. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 55 (Pt 6): 2531-8. doi:10.1099/ijs.0.63886-0

[23] Shimizu, Upadhye, Ishijima, Naganuma (2011): Methanosarcina horonobensis sp. nov., a methanogenic archaeon isolated from a deep subsurface Miocene formation. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 61 (Pt 10): 2503-7. doi:10.1099/ijs.0.028548-0

[24] Simankova, Parshina, Tourova, Kolganova, Zehnder, Nozhevnikova, et al. (2001): Methanosarcina lacustris sp. nov., a new psychrotolerant methanogenic archaeon from anoxic lake sediments. Syst. Appl. Microbiol. 24 (3): 362-7. doi:10.1078/0723-2020-00058

[25] Lyimo, Pol, Op den Camp, Harhangi, Vogels (2000): Methanosarcina semesiae sp. nov., a dimethylsulfide-utilizing methanogen from mangrove sediment. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 50 Pt 1 (): 171-8. doi:10.1099/00207713-50-1-171

[26] Elberson, Sowers (1997): Isolation of an aceticlastic strain of Methanosarcina siciliae from marine canyon sediments and emendation of the species description for Methanosarcina siciliae. Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol. 47 (4): 1258-61. doi:10.1099/00207713-47-4-1258

[27] Wagner, Schirmack, Ganzert, Morozova, Mangelsdorf (2013): Methanosarcina soligelidi sp. nov., a desiccation- and freeze-thaw-resistant methanogenic archaeon from a Siberian permafrost-affected soil. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 63 (Pt 8): 2986-91. doi:10.1099/ijs.0.046565-0

[28] Ganzert, Schirmack, Alawi, Mangelsdorf, Sand, Hillebrand-Voiculescu, et al. (2014): Methanosarcina spelaei sp. nov., a methanogenic archaeon isolated from a floating biofilm of a subsurface sulphurous lake. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 64 (Pt 10): 3478-84. doi:10.1099/ijs.0.064956-0

[29] Shimizu, Ueno, Naganuma, Kaneko (2015): Methanosarcina subterranea sp. nov., a methanogenic archaeon isolated from a deep subsurface diatomaceous shale formation. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 65 (Pt 4): 1167-71. doi:10.1099/ijs.0.000072

[30] Kendall, M.M., and Boone, D.R. (2006) The order Methanosarcinales. In: M. Dworkin., S. Falkow., E. Rosenberg., K-H. Schleifer., and E. Stackebrandt. The Prokaryotes. Vol 3: Archaea. Bacteria; Firmicutes, Actinomycetes. pp 244-256. Springer, New York. - Kendall And Boone 2006docx -

[31] Sørensen, Torsvik, Torsvik, Poulsen, Ahring (1997): Whole-cell hybridization of Methanosarcina cells with two new oligonucleotide probes. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 63 (8): 3043-50.

[32] Boonapatcharoen, Meepian, Chaiprasert, Techkarnjanaruk (2007): Molecular monitoring of microbial population dynamics during operational periods of anaerobic hybrid reactor treating cassava starch wastewater. Microb. Ecol. 54 (1): 21-30. doi:10.1007/s00248-006-9161-6

[33] Ni, Woese, Aldrich, Boone (1994): Transfer of Methanolobus siciliae to the genus Methanosarcina, naming it Methanosarcina siciliae, and emendation of the genus Methanosarcina. Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol. 44 (2): 357-9. doi:10.1099/00207713-44-2-357

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