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, 35 (6), 985-91

Aerobic Culture of Methanogenic Archaea Without an External Source of Hydrogen

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Aerobic Culture of Methanogenic Archaea Without an External Source of Hydrogen

S Khelaifia et al. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis.

Abstract

Culturing methanogenic archaea is fastidious, expensive, and requires an external source of hydrogen and carbon dioxide. Until now, these microorganisms have only been cultivated under strictly anaerobic conditions. We previously developed a single versatile culture medium containing sugars and anti-oxydants for cultivating all human known methanogens. Performing aerobic cultures in the presence of Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, which produces hydrogen, allows for cultivation of Methanobrevibacter smithii which itself produces methane. To obtain colonies, we cultivated M. smithii in an agar plate in the upper part of a double chamber flask with a liquid culture of B. thetaiotaomicron in the lower compartment. We subsequently cultured four other methanogenic species for the first time and successfully isolated 13 strains of M. smithii and nine strains of Methanobrevibacter oralis from 100 stools and 45 oral samples. This procedure allows aerobic isolation and antibiotic susceptibility testing. This changes the ability to routinely study methanogens, which have been neglected in clinical microbiology laboratories and may be useful for biogas production.

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