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Arch Microbiol. 1998 May;169(5):397-403.

Phylogenetic analysis of Methanobrevibacter isolated from feces of humans and other animals.

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Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, Empire State Plaza Box 509, Albany, NY 12201-0509, USA.


Comparative 16S rRNA gene sequence and genomic DNA reassociation analyses were used to assess the phylogenetic relationships of Methanobrevibacter fecal isolates. The 16S rRNA gene sequences of Methanobrevibacter smithii strain PS and the human fecal isolates B181 and ALI were essentially identical, and their genomic DNA reassociated at values greater than 94%. The analysis of 16S rRNA sequences of the horse, pig, cow, rat, and goose fecal isolates confirm that they are members of the genus Methanobrevibacter. They had a high degree of sequence similarity (97-98%) with the 16S rRNA gene of M. smithii, indicating that they share a common line of descent. The 16S rRNA genes of the horse and pig isolates had 99.3% sequence similarity. Sequence analysis of the 16S rRNA gene of the sheep fecal isolate showed that it formed a separate line of descent in the genus Methanobrevibacter. Genomic DNA reassociation studies indicate that the horse, pig, cow, and goose fecal isolates represent at least three new species. The horse and pig isolates were the only animal isolates that had > 70% genomic DNA reassociation and represent strains of a single species. The cow, goose, and sheep isolates had little or no genomic DNA reassociation with M. smithii or with each other. The relationship of the rat isolate to the other animal isolates was not determined. An evaluation of the relationship of 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity and genomic DNA reassociation of Methanobrevibacter and other methanogenic archaea indicated that genomic DNA reassociation studies are necessary to establish that two methanogenic organisms belong to the same species.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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