Methanogens: Pushing the boundaries of biology

Nicole R. Buan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Methanogens are anaerobic archaea that grow by producing methane gas. These microbes and their exotic metabolism have inspired decades of microbial physiology research that continues to push the boundary of what we know about how microbes conserve energy to grow. The study of methanogens has helped to elucidate the thermodynamic and bioenergetics basis of life, contributed our understanding of evolution and biodiversity, and has garnered an appreciation for the societal utility of studying trophic interactions between environmental microbes, as methanogens are important in microbial conversion of biogenic carbon into methane, a high-energy fuel. This review discusses the theoretical basis for energy conservation by methanogens and identifies gaps in methanogen biology that may be filled by undiscovered or yet-to-be engineered organisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)629-646
Number of pages18
JournalEmerging topics in life sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Medicine


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