ABSTRACT: The Tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii) harbors unique gut bacteria and produces only one-fifth the amount of methane produced by ruminants per unit of digestible energy intake. We have isolated a dominant bacterial species (WG-1) from the wallaby microbiota affiliated with the family Succinivibrionaceae and implicated in lower methane emissions from starch-containing diets. This was achieved by using a partial reconstruction of the bacterium's metabolism from binned metagenomic data (nitrogen and carbohydrate utilization pathways and antibiotic resistance) to devise cultivation-based strategies that produced axenic WG-1 cultures. Pure-culture studies confirm that the bacterium is capnophilic and produces succinate, further explaining a microbiological basis for lower methane emissions from macropodids. This knowledge also provides new strategic targets for redirecting fermentation and reducing methane production in livestock.
Science 06/2011; 333(6042):646-8. · 31.20 Impact Factor