The well-studied methanotrophic members of the Alpha- and Gammaproteobacteria have never been found in methane rich environments of extremely low pH. However, methane oxidation activity was detected in geothermal soils characterized by high temperatures (50–95 °C) and a pH as low as 1.0. From 2007 onward, the isolation of new aerobic acidophilic methane oxidizing bacteria from several acidic geothermal ecosystems was reported. They were all identified as new members of the Verrucomicrobia phylum and clustered in the genera Methylacidiphilum (thermophiles) and Methylacidimicrobium (mesophiles). This chapter reports on their discovery, biodiversity, genomics, metabolism, and biotechnological potential.
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