After watching the Periodic Table of Videos episode linked in this question I watched the episode Wallabies and Methane where Sir Poliakoff says (a bit after 02:00):

So the point of this paper was that Wallabies have different bacteria in their stomachs, which which instead of producing methane, produced succinic acid, which is the diacid of butane.

enter image description here Succinic acid, Source

The paper he references seems to be Isolation of Succinivibrionaceae Implicated in Low Methane Emissions from Tammar Wallabies Pope, P. B. et al. Science 29 Jul 2011: Vol. 333, Issue 6042, pp. 646-648 DOI: 10.1126/science.1205760

Question: I can not understand the abstract, and the paper is paywalled. Presumably much more work has been done since its publication in 2011. How well is Succinivibrionaceae's low methanogenesis understood; well enough for the genetic modification of cattle gut bacteria to be considered?


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.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I may need help with tags; I didn't see genetic-engineering or genetic-modification. I can not think of a shorter but still accurate and descriptive title, help is appreciated there as well, thanks! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Nov 13 '18 at 0:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.