Novel approaches and reasons to isolate methanotrophic bacteria with biotechnological potentials

recent achievements and perspectives

authored by
Miye Kwon, Adrian Ho, Sukhwan Yoon

The recent drop in the price of natural gas has rekindled the interests in methanotrophs, the organisms capable of utilizing methane as the sole electron donor and carbon source, as biocatalysts for various industrial applications. As heterologous expression of the methane monooxygenases in more amenable hosts has been proven to be nearly impossible, future success in methanotroph biotechnology largely depends on securing phylogenetically and phenotypically diverse methanotrophs with relatively high growth rates. For long, isolation of methanotrophs have relied on repeated single colony picking after initial batch enrichment with methane, which is a very rigorous and time-consuming process. In this review, three unconventional isolation methods devised for facilitation of the isolation process, diversification of targeted methanotrophs, and/or screening of rapid growers are summarized. The soil substrate membrane method allowed for isolation of previously elusive methanotrophs and application of high-throughput extinction plating technique facilitated the isolation procedure. Use of a chemostat with gradually increased dilution rates proved effective in screening for the fastest-growing methanotrophs from environmental samples. Development of new isolation technologies incorporating microfluidics and single-cell techniques may lead to discovery of previously unculturable methanotrophs with unexpected metabolic potentials and thus, certainly warrant future investigation.

Institute of Microbiology
External Organisation(s)
Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)
Review article
Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
No. of pages
Publication date
Publication status
Peer reviewed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Biotechnology, Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Electronic version(s) (Access: Closed)