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Nat Commun. 2013;4:1428. doi: 10.1038/ncomms2432.

Methylotrophic methanogenic Thermoplasmata implicated in reduced methane emissions from bovine rumen.

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Department of Animal Science, Aarhus University, Blichers allé 20, 8830 Tjele, Denmark.

Erratum in

  • Nat Commun. 2013;4:1947.


Rumen methanogens are major sources of anthropogenic methane emissions, and these archaea are targets in strategies aimed at reducing methane emissions. Here we show that the poorly characterised Thermoplasmata archaea in bovine rumen are methylotrophic methanogens and that they are reduced upon dietary supplementation with rapeseed oil in lactating cows. In a metatranscriptomic survey, Thermoplasmata 16S rRNA and methyl-coenzyme M reductase (mcr) transcripts decreased concomitantly with mRNAs of enzymes involved in methanogenesis from methylamines that were among the most abundant archaeal transcripts, indicating that these Thermoplasmata degrade methylamines. Their methylotrophic methanogenic lifestyle was corroborated by in vitro incubations, showing enhanced growth of these organisms upon methylamine supplementation paralleled by elevated methane production. The Thermoplasmata have a high potential as target in future strategies to mitigate methane emissions from ruminant livestock. Our findings and the findings of others also indicate a wider distribution of methanogens than previously anticipated.

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