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Hydrogen regulation of growth, growth yields, and methane gene transcription in Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum deltaH.

By R M Morgan, T D Pihl, J Nölling and J N Reeve


Changes in growth rate, methanogenesis, growth yield (Y(CH4)), and methane gene transcription have been correlated with changes in the supply of H2 to Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum deltaH cells growing on H2 plus CO2 in fed-batch cultures. Under conditions of excess H2, biomass and methanogenesis increased exponentially and in parallel, resulting in cultures with a constant Y(CH4) and transcription of the mth and mrt genes that encode the H2-dependent N5,N10-methenyltetrahydromethanopterin (methenyl-H4MPT) reductase (MTH) and methyl coenzyme M reductase II (MRII), respectively. Reducing the H2 supply, by decreasing the percentage of H2 in the input gas mixture or by reducing the mixing speed of the fermentor impeller, decreased the growth rate and resulted in lower and constant rates of methanogenesis. Under such H2-limited growth conditions, cultures grew with a continuously increasing Y(CH4) and the mtd and mcr genes that encode the reduced coenzyme F420-dependent N5,N10-methenyl-H4MPT reductase (MTD) and methyl coenzyme M reductase I (MRI), respectively, were transcribed. Changes in the kinetics of growth, methanogenesis, and methane gene transcription directed by reducing the H2 supply could be reversed by restoring a high H2 supply. Methane production continued, but at a low and constant rate, and only mcr transcripts could be detected when the H2 supply was reduced to a level insufficient for growth. ftsA transcripts, which encode coenzyme F390 synthetase, were most abundant in cells growing with high H2 availability, consistent with coenzyme F390 synthesis signaling a high exogenous supply of reductant

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1997
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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