Inhibitory effects of saturated fatty acids on methane production by methanogenic Archaea
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ETH Zurich, Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Universitaetstrasse 2, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland
ETH Zurich, Institute of Food, Nutrition and Health, Schmelzbergstr. 7, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland
Current address: University of Zurich, Institute of Animal Nutrition, Winterthurerstrasse 260, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland
Publication date: 2013-03-21
Corresponding author
J. O. Zeit   

ETH Zurich, Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Universitaetstrasse 2, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland
J. Anim. Feed Sci. 2013;22(1):44-49
The present study investigated the inhibitory effects of saturated fatty acids on methanogenesis in Archaea, and whether or not competitive inactivation of the methanogens’ coenzyme M (HS-CoM) is involved in the inhibition. Strains tested in batch cultures were Methanosarcina barkeri, Methanosarcina mazei, Methanococcus voltae, all incubated at 37°C, and Methanothermobacter thermoautotrophicus, incubated at 65°C. The fatty acids C10, C12, C14 and C18 were supplemented at 1 mg · ml–1 in cultivation medium. The methanogens were susceptible to C10 and C12, and less so to C14. Only M. thermoautotrophicus was affected by C18. In M. mazei cultures, excessive HS-CoM did not prevent the action of C14 which might suggest that competitive inhibition of HS-CoM is not the reason for the SFA-induced effect on methanogenesis. The results indicate that, as a prerequisite to inhibit methanogenesis in Archaea, medium- and long-chain saturated fatty acids have to be at least partially molten.
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