A methanogenic archaeon, strain MK4(T), was isolated from ancient permafrost after long-term selective anaerobic cultivation. The cells were rods, 2.0-8.0 microm long and 0.40-0.45 microm wide, and stained Gram-negative. Optimal growth was observed at 28 degrees C and pH 7.0-7.2 and in 0.05 M NaCl. The isolate used H(2) plus CO(2), methylamine plus H(2) and methanol plus H(2) as sources for growth and methanogenesis. Phylogenetic analysis of the 16S rRNA gene sequence of the strain showed close affinity with Methanobacterium bryantii (similarity >99 % to the type strain). On the basis of the level of DNA-DNA hybridization (62 %) between strain MK4(T) and Methanobacterium bryantii VKM B-1629(T) and phenotypic and phylogenetic differences, strain MK4(T) was assigned to a novel species of the genus Methanobacterium, Methanobacterium veterum sp. nov., with the type strain MK4(T) (=DSM 19849(T) =VKM B-2440(T)).