Growth yields of methanotrophs - 1. Effect of copper on the energetics of methane oxidation

David J. Leak, Howard Dalton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The growth yield of Methylococcus capsulatus (Bath) on methane was dependent on the availability of copper in the growth medium. In nitrate mineral salts medium the carbon conversion efficiency increased by 38%, concomitant with the transition from soluble to particulate methane monooxygenase, after transfer from low to high copper medium. An increase in growth efficiency was also observed with ammonia as nitrogen source but not when methanol replaced methane as carbon source. The high growth efficiency is attributed to a reduced NADH requirement for methane oxidation. This could only arise if methanol dehydrogenase was capable of electron transfer, either directly or indirectly to the particulate methane monooxygenase (MMO). The carbon conversion efficiency from methanol with nitrate as nitrogen source was as high as theoretically predicted. It is suggested that the previously low yields of methanotrophs grown on methanol resulted from the use, as nitrogen source, of ammonia which was oxidised by the MMO still present under these growth conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-476
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Microbiology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biotechnology


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