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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1982 January; 43(1): 227–232.
PMCID: PMC241804

Isolation of Methanobrevibacter smithii from human feces.


Fecal specimens from nine adults were examined for the presence of methanogenic bacteria. Enrichment cultures of five specimens produced methane in 5 days. Of these five specimens, three were tested and produced methane during a short-term incubation. Four specimens did not produce methane in either short-term incubation or in enrichment culture. Each methanogenic culture contained methanogens similar in morphology to organisms of the genus Methanobrevibacter and showed factor-420 fluorescence by fluorescence microscopy. Pure cultures were obtained from four of the five methanogenic enrichment cultures. Each isolate grew and formed methane from either H2-CO2 or formate, but growth obtained with formate was poor. None of the isolates used acetate, methanol, or trimethylamine. All isolates grew in the presence of bile salts. In immunological studies, each isolate was closely related to the type strain of Methanobrevibacter smithii, a finding consistent with the physiological and morphological similarities between the isolates and the type strain.

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