Methane-producing microbial community in a coal bed of the Illinois Basin

Applied and Environmental Microbiology
By: , and 



A series of molecular and geochemical studies were performed to study microbial, coal bed methane formation in the eastern Illinois Basin. Results suggest that organic matter is biodegraded to simple molecules, such as H 2 and CO2, which fuel methanogenesis and the generation of large coal bed methane reserves. Small-subunit rRNA analysis of both the in situ microbial community and highly purified, methanogenic enrichments indicated that Methanocorpusculum is the dominant genus. Additionally, we characterized this methanogenic microorganism using scanning electron microscopy and distribution of intact polar cell membrane lipids. Phylogenetic studies of coal water samples helped us develop a model of methanogenic biodegradation of macromolecular coal and coal-derived oil by a complex microbial community. Based on enrichments, phylogenetic analyses, and calculated free energies at in situ subsurface conditions for relevant metabolisms (H2-utilizing methanogenesis, acetoclastic methanogenesis, and homoacetogenesis), H 2-utilizing methanogenesis appears to be the dominant terminal process of biodegradation of coal organic matter at this location. Copyright ?? 2008, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Methane-producing microbial community in a coal bed of the Illinois Basin
Series title Applied and Environmental Microbiology
DOI 10.1128/AEM.02341-07
Volume 74
Issue 8
Year Published 2008
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Applied and Environmental Microbiology
First page 2424
Last page 2432