Representatives of the genus Methylocystis are traditionally considered to be obligately methanotrophic bacteria, which are incapable of growth on multicarbon substrates. Here, we describe a novel member of this genus, strain H2s, which represents a numerically abundant and ecologically important methanotroph population in northern Sphagnum-dominated wetlands. This isolate demonstrates a clear preference for growth on methane but is able to grow slowly on acetate in the absence of methane. Strain H2s possesses both forms of methane monooxygenase (particulate and soluble MMO) and a well-developed system of intracytoplasmic membranes (ICM). In cells grown for several transfers on acetate, these ICM are maintained, although in a reduced form, and mRNA transcripts of particulate MMO are detectable. These cells resume their growth on methane faster than those kept for the same period of time without any substrate. Growth on acetate leads to a major shift in the phospholipid fatty acid composition. The re-examination of all type strains of the validly described Methylocystis species showed that Methylocystis heyeri H2T and Methylocystis echinoides IMET10491T are also capable of slow growth on acetate. This capability might represent an important part of the survival strategy of Methylocystis spp. in environments where methane availability is variable or limited.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology Reports
Journal publication date2011

ID: 68065