The expanding world of methylotrophic metabolism

Annu Rev Microbiol. 2009;63:477-99. doi: 10.1146/annurev.micro.091208.073600.


In the past few years, the field of methylotrophy has undergone a significant transformation in terms of discovery of novel types of methylotrophs, novel modes of methylotrophy, and novel metabolic pathways. This time has also been marked by the resolution of long-standing questions regarding methylotrophy and the challenge of long-standing dogmas. This chapter is not intended to provide a comprehensive review of metabolism of methylotrophic bacteria. Instead we focus on significant recent discoveries that are both refining and transforming the current understanding of methylotrophy as a metabolic phenomenon. We also review new directions in methylotroph ecology that improve our understanding of the role of methylotrophy in global biogeochemical processes, along with an outlook for the future challenges in the field.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Biodiversity*
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways / genetics
  • Methanol / metabolism*


  • Methanol