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Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. 2006 Apr-May;89(3-4):423-34. Epub 2006 Apr 25.

Methanogenic diversity and activity in municipal solid waste landfill leachates.

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  • 1Hydrosystems and Bioprocesses research unit, Cemagref, Parc de Tourvoie, F92163, Antony, France.


Archaeal microbial communities present in municipal solid waste landfill leachates were characterized using a 16S rDNA approach. Phylogenetic affiliations of 239 partial length 16S rDNA sequences were determined. Sequences belonging to the order Methanosarcinales were dominant in the clone library and 65% of the clones belonged to the strictly acetoclastic methanogenic family Methanosaetaceae. Sequences affiliated to the metabolically versatile family Methanosarcinaceae represented 18% of the retrieved sequences. Members of the hydrogenotrophic order Methanomicrobiales were also recovered in limited numbers, especially sequences affiliated to the genera Methanoculleus and Methanofollis. Eleven euryarchaeal and thirteen crenarchaeal sequences (i.e. 10%) were distantly related to any hitherto cultivated microorganisms, showing that archaeal diversity within the investigated samples was limited. Lab-scale incubations were performed with leachates mixed with several methanogenic precursors (acetate, hydrogen, formate, methanol, methylamine). Microbial populations were followed using group specific 16S rRNA targeted fluorescent oligonucleotidic probes. During the incubations with acetate, acetoclastic methanogenesis was rapidly induced and led to the dominance of archaea hybridizing with probe MS1414 which indicates their affiliation to the family Methanosarcinaceae. Hydrogen and formate addition induced an important acetate synthesis resulting from the onset of homoacetogenic metabolism. In these incubations, species belonging to the family Methanosarcinaceae (hybridizing with probe MS1414) and the order Methanomicrobiales (hybridizing with probe EURY496) were dominant. Homoacetogenesis was also recorded for incubations with methanol and methylamines. In the methanol experiment, acetoclastic methanogenesis took place and archaea hybridizing with probe MS821 (specific for Methanosarcina spp.) were observed to be the dominant population. These results confirm that acetoclastic methanogenesis performed by the members of the order Methanosarcinales is predominant over the hydrogenotrophic and methylotrophic pathways in landfill leachates.

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