Conversion of choline methyl groups through trimethylamine into methane in the rumen

Biochem J. 1978 Mar 15;170(3):529-35. doi: 10.1042/bj1700529.


1. Choline methyl groups were rapidly metabolized to trimethylamine by rumen micro-organisms. 2. Trimethylamine was further metabolized to methane, but this system was more easily saturated by an excess of substrate, so that trimethylamine accumulated in the rumen of the fed animal. 3. Although trimethylamine was the only intermediate isolated in the conversion of the methyl groups of choline into methane, methylamine also served as a substrate for methane production. 4. The methyl group of methionine was also converted into methane by rumen fluid, but the methyl groups of carnitine were not.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Carnitine / metabolism
  • Choline / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Methane / biosynthesis*
  • Methionine / metabolism
  • Methylamines / metabolism*
  • Rumen / metabolism*
  • Sheep


  • Methylamines
  • Methionine
  • Choline
  • Methane
  • Carnitine