DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Methanosarcina barkeri is a genus of archaea (archaebacterium) that produces methane (methanotrophic). Methanosarcina sp. are simple coccoid-shaped cells that live in tightly packed groups or colonies. They are the only known anaerobic methanogens that produce methane by utilizing all three metabolic pathways for methanogenesis. They live in diverse and extreme environments that have no oxygen (such as: sewage, deep ground water, deep sea vents, animal digestive tracts). The amino acid pyrrolysine was first discovered in a Methanosarcina barkeri. Chinese scientists (in 2012) think that Methanosarcina sp. might have produced huge amounts of methane 250 million years ago that caused CO2 levels to rise and eventual extinction of 90% of life on Earth (Permian-Triassic extinction event). Magnification: x2,665 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.
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