Yang Li

Doctor of Philosophy, (Science)
Study Completed: 2016
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Comparative genomics of rumen methanogens

Enteric fermentation is the largest source of anthropogenic agricultural methane emission, mainly from ruminant livestock. Methane is produced predominantly in the reticulo-rumen by a group of archaea known as methanogens. In order to reduce methane emissions from ruminants, it is necessary to understand the role of methanogenic archaea in the rumen environment. Mr Li carried out genome sequencing of two methanogens isolated from the sheep rumen, named methanogenic archaeon ISO4-H5, which belongs to the order Methanomassiliicoccales, and Methanobrevibacter sp. D5, which is affiliated with the Methanobrevibacter gottschalkii clade. He found that ISO4-H5 uses only hydrogen to reduce methanol and methylamines to make methane, and requires a growth factor, coenzyme M, to survive, while Methanobrevibacter sp. D5 uses hydrogen and formate in a different pathway to reduce carbon dioxide to methane. The sequence information from Mr Li’s work is being used to specifically target rumen methanogens for inhibition via methane mitigation strategies

Associate Professor Jasna Rakonjac
Dr Graeme Attwood
Dr Sinead Leahy

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