Isolation of Succinivibrionaceae Implicated in Low Methane Emissions from Tammar Wallabies

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Science  30 Jun 2011:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1205760


The Tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii) harbors unique gut bacteria and produces only one-fifth the amount of methane produced by ruminants per unit of digestible energy intake. We have isolated a dominant bacterial species (WG-1) from the wallaby microbiota affiliated with the family Succinivibrionaceae and implicated in lower methane emissions with starch containing diets. This was achieved by using a partial reconstruction of the bacterium's metabolism from binned metagenomic data (nitrogen and carbohydrate utilization pathways, and antibiotic resistance) to devise cultivation-based strategies that produced axenic WG-1 cultures. Pure-culture studies confirm the bacterium is capnophilic and produces succinate, further explaining a microbiological basis for lower methane emissions from macropodids. This knowledge also provides new strategic targets for redirecting fermentation and reducing methane production in livestock.