271148C

271148C
Caption: Methanococcus jannaschii (also known as Methanocaldococcus jannaschii) - thermophilic, anaerobic, irregular-shaped coccoid prokaryote (bacterium). Methanococcus is a genus of coccoid methanotrophic bacteria (methanogens or methane producers). Methanococcus jannaschii is an extremely hyperthermophilic bacterium that produces methane as the end product. It is strictly anaerobic and uses only carbon dioxide as a carbon source. It was the first archaean bacterium to have its genome fully sequenced. It belongs to the domain Archaea that is unique group because they do not have a cell wall made of peptidoglycan (called murein) like most bacteria. Most archaea species have walls made of proteins or glycoproteins, which form the outermost envelope of the cell called the surface layer. Because of the lack of a cell wall, this explains why Archaea are resistant to antibacterial antibiotics. Methanogens are extremely important to anaerobic environments because they convert organic compounds into methane, which then rises into the aerobic environment. By doing so, these organisms provide a pathway for compounds that exist in anaerobic environment to escape into the atmosphere, where it acts as a natural gas resource. Methanococcus jannaschii has the ability to produce many unique cofactors, coenzymes, and enzymes during methanogenesis. These macromolecules have been the target of many biotechnological applications.
Magnification*: x3,400
Type: SEM
Copyright 2009 Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc.
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