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Tungsten-enhanced growth of Methanosphaera stadtmanae

Bédis Dridi1, Saber Khelaifia1, Marie-Laure Fardeau2, Bernard Ollivier2 and Michel Drancourt1*

Author Affiliations

1 Unité de Recherche sur les Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales Emergentes UMR CNRS 6236 IDR 198, IFR48, Institut Méditerranée Infection, Aix-Marseille-Université, Marseille, France

2 Laboratoire de Microbiologie IRD, UMR D180, Microbiologie et Biotechnologie des Environnements Chauds, Aix-Marseille-Université, ESIL, Marseille, France

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BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:238  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-238

Published: 15 May 2012



The methanogenic Archaea Methanosphaera stadtmanae has been detected in the human gut microbiota by both culture and culture-independent methods. Its growth reaches an exponential phase after 5 to 7-day culture in medium 322 (10% vol). Our recent successful isolation of Methanomassiliicoccus luminyensis, a tungstate-selenite-requiring Archaea sharing similar metabolism characteristics with M. stadtmanae prompted us to study the effects of tungsten and selenium on M. stadtmanae growth.


Addition of 0.2 mg/L sodium tungstate to medium 322 yielded, 48 hours after inoculation, a growth rate equivalent to that obtained after 6 days with control culture as measured by methane monitoring and optical density measurement. Addition of 50 μg/mL sodium selenate had no effect on M. stadtmanae growth. Quantitative real-time PCRs targeting the M. stadtmanae 16S rRNA confirmed these data.


These data provide new information regarding the poorly known nutritional requirements of the human gut colonizing organismsM. stadtmanae. Adding sodium tungstate to basal medium may facilitate phenotypic characterization of this organism and additionally aid the isolation of new Archaeafrom complex host microbiota.

Methanogenic Archaea; Methanosphaera stadtmanae; Methanomassiliicoccus luminyensis; Tungsten; Selenium