Leigh Lab: Methanogenesis
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J o h n    L e i g h    L a b

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Email the Director :
John Leigh, Ph.D.


Methanogenesis

The flammable gas methane is the product of the energy-generating metabolism of the methanogenic Archaea. Most of the methanogenesis on earth occurs in anaerobic habitats where intermediates in the breakdown of organic matter are converted to methane. You can observe the accumulation of methane in sediments in the Volta experiment. Some methanogenesis on earth today (and perhaps most of it on the ancient earth) occurs in geothermal habitats such as hydrothermal vents. In the diagram of methanogenesis below, the pathway with hydrogen and carbon dioxide or with formate is shown. In hydrogenotrophic methanogens, no electron transport chain is present. Energy is conserved by sodium ion export to generate a chemiosmotic membrane potential. In addition, energy coupling occurs by electron bifurcation, making the pathway cyclical. In addition to electron equivalents needed for methanogenesis, an anaplerotic supply electrons is necessary.
Diagram of Methanogenesis
Diagram of Methanogenesis

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