Methane is an energy-dense fuel but is also a greenhouse gas 25 times more detrimental to the environment than CO2. Methane can be produced abiotically by serpentinization, chemically by Sabatier or Fisher-Tropsh chemistry, or biotically by microbes (Berndt et al., 1996; Horita and Berndt, 1999; Dry, 2002; Wolfe, 1982; Thauer, 1998; Metcalf et al., 2002). Methanogens are anaerobic archaea that grow by producing methane gas as a metabolic byproduct (Wolfe, 1982; Thauer, 1998). Our lab has developed and optimized three different gas chromatograph-utilizing assays to characterize methanogen metabolism (Catlett et al., 2015). Here we describe the end point and kinetic assays that can be used to measure methane production by methanogens or methane consumption by methanotrophic microbes. The protocols can be used for measuring methane production or consumption by microbial pure cultures or by enrichment cultures.
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