Diphytanyl and dibiphytanyl glycerol ether lipids of methanogenic archaebacteria

Science  05 Jan 1979:
Vol. 203, Issue 4375, pp. 51-53
DOI: 10.1126/science.758677


The lipids of nine different methanogenic bacterial strains are comprised of diphytanyl glycerol diethers, previously known only in extremely halophilic bacterial, as well as dibiphytanyl diglycerol tetraethers, known formerly only in the extremely thermoacidophilic bacteria Thermoplasma and Sulfolobus. Of the methanogens examined from four representative taxonomic groups, Methanobacterium and Methanospirillum contained both types of isopranyl ethers in nearly equal proportions, whereas the coccal forms, Methanosarcina and Methanococcus, possessed diphytanyl glycerol diethers, but with only a trace of or no dibiphytanyl diglycerol tetraethers. The occurrence of both types of isopranyl glycerol ethers in methanogenic bacteria supports the proposal that they have a close genealogical relationship to the extremely halophilic and thermoacidophilic bacteria.