Author(s): Saengkerdsub S, Ricke SC
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Abstract In this review, the molecular techniques used in animal-based-methanogen studies will be discussed along with how methanogens interact not only with other microorganisms but with their animal hosts as well. These methods not only indicate the diversity and levels of methanogens, but also provide insight on their ecological functions. Most molecular techniques have been based on either 16S rRNA genes or methyl-coenzyme M reductase, a ubiquitous enzyme in methanogens. The most predominant methanogens in animals belong to the genus Methanobrevibacter. Besides methanogens contributing to overall H2 balance, methanogens also have mutual interactions with other bacteria. In addition to shared metabolic synergism, the host animal retrieves additional energy from the diet when methanogens are co-colonized with other normal flora. By comparing genes in methanogens with other bacteria, possible gene transfer between methanogens and other bacteria in the same environments appears to occur. Finally, diets in conjunction with the genetics of methanogens and hosts may represent the biological framework that dictate the extent of methanogen prevalence in these ecosystems. In addition, host evolution including the immune system could serve as an additional selective pressure for methanogen colonization.
This article was published in Crit Rev Microbiol
and referenced in Journal of Probiotics & Health