• methanogen;
  • anaerobic methanotroph;
  • methanogenesis;
  • anaerobic oxidation of methane;
  • mcrA;
  • quantitative fluorescent PCR


A quantitative fluorogenic PCR method for detecting methanogenic and methanotrophic orders was established using a refined primer set for the methyl coenzyme M reductase subunit A gene (mcrA). The method developed was applied to several microbial communities in which diversity and abundance of methanogens or anaerobic methanotrophs (ANMEs) was identified by 16S rRNA gene clone analysis, and strong correlations between the copy numbers of mcrA with those of archaeal 16S rRNA genes in the communities were observed. The assay can be applied to detecting and assessing the abundance of methanogens and/or ANMEs in anoxic environments that could not be detected by 16S rRNA gene sequence analyses.