Taxonomy and Halotolerance of Mesophilic Methanosarcina Strains, Assignment of Strains to Species, and Synonymy of Methanosarcina mazei and Methanosarcina frisia Academic Article uri icon


  • We examined 22 previously described and newly isolated Methanosarcina strains by performing denaturing gel electrophoresis of whole-cell proteins and assigned these strains to previously described species. Methanosarcina mazei S-6(T) (T = type strain) and Methanosarcina frisia C 16(T) were very similar in terms of the electrophoresis patterns of their proteins and in their DNA sequences (the results of reassociation experiments indicated that there was 77% sequence similarity). Thus, M. frisia is a junior subjective synonym of M. mazei, and strain C 16 is a reference strain of M. mazei. M. mazei C 16 was similar to M. mazei in other characteristics that have not been reported previously, including the ability to catabolize acetate and a lack of halophily. All of the Methanosarcina strains examined, including the marine strains M. mazei C 16 (= M. frisia C 16(T)) and Methanosarcina acetivorans C2A(T), were slightly halotolerant (rather than halophilic, as originally described). Methanosarcina sp. strain FR-1, which has gas vesicles, was more similar to Methanosarcina barkeri MS(T) than to Methanosarcina vacuolata Z-761(T) in both its protein patterns and its DNA sequence (80% similarity to M. barkeri MS(T) and 38% similarity to M. vacuolata Z-761(T)). Thus, the presence of gas vesicles is not an adequate taxonomic characteristic for assigning Methanosarcina strains to M. vacuolata.

published proceedings

  • International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology

author list (cited authors)

  • Maestrojuan, G. M., Boone, J. E., Mah, R. A., Menaia, J., Sachs, M. S., & Boone, D. R.

complete list of authors

  • Maestrojuan, Gloria M||Boone, Jane E||Mah, Robert A||Menaia, Jose AGF||Sachs, Matthew S||Boone, David R

publication date

  • January 1, 1992 11:11 AM