Transplanting the pathway engineering toolbox to methanogens

Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2019 Oct;59:46-54. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2019.02.009. Epub 2019 Mar 12.


Biological methanogenesis evolved early in Earth's history and was likely already a major process by 3.5 Ga. Modern methanogenesis is now a key process in virtually all anaerobic microbial communities, such as marine and lake sediments, wetland and rice soils, and human and cattle digestive tracts. Owing to their long evolution and extensive adaptations to various habitats, methanogens possess enormous metabolic and physiological diversity. Not only does this diversity offers unique opportunities for biotechnology applications, but also reveals their direct impact on the environment, agriculture, and human and animal health. These efforts are facilitated by an advanced genetic toolbox, emerging new molecular tools, and systems-level modelling for methanogens. Further developments and convergence of these technical advancements provide new opportunities for bioengineering methanogens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chemoautotrophic Growth
  • Ecosystem
  • Humans
  • Methane*
  • Soil


  • Soil
  • Methane