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noun, plural: methanogens

An archaeabacterium capable of methanogenesis


A methanogen pertains to any of the various archaeabacteria that are capable of producing methane through the process of methanogenesis. Methanogenesis is the production of methane as a part of the metabolism in methanogens. It is usually the final step in the decomposition of biomass. Methanogens should not be confused with methanotrophs, which are prokaryotes that metabolize methane for nutrition and growth.

Methanogens produce methane as metabolic byproduct. These microbes thrive in anoxic conditions and are common in wetlands. They are the ones responsible for the production of marsh gas. Some of them are also found in the digestive tracts of animals, e.g. ruminants and humans. These microbes that live in the digestive tract are responsible for the presence of methane in ruminants' belching and humans' flatulence. Others live as extremophiles in hot springs and hydrothermal vents.1 Methanogens are strictly anaerobic. Most of them are sensitive to oxygen and are susceptible to oxygen stress especially for longer periods of time. Some of the methanogens are as follows: Methanobrevibacter gottschalkii, Methanobrevibacter smithii, Methanococcus jannaschii, Methanococcus maripaludis, Methanogenium frigidum, Methanopyrus kandleri, Methanosaeta concilii, Methanosarcina acetivorans, Methanosarcina barkeri, and Methanosphaera stadtmanae.

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1 Methanogen. Retrieved from [[1]].