Anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) by microorganisms is a promising bioprocess for conversion of methane to liquid chemicals. This subproject aims to determine the metabolic pathway of methane and CO2 conversion to VFA and electricity under different conditions.

Recently it was shown that Candidatus ‘Methanoperedens nitroreducens’, an archaeon affiliated with ANME-2d, can couple AOM to nitrate reduction. Metagenomic analysis revealed that the M. nitroreducens harbours genes responsible for the reductive acetyl-CoA pathway and acetyl-CoA synthetase (Acd).

Consistent and reliable bioconversion of methane to acetate is critical for future process and technology development. The feasibility of sustainable acetate production by M. nitroreducens will be further investigated through fundamental metabolic, and applied membrane bioreactor studies.


  • ARC FL170100086

Project Outcomes

The key purpose of this project is to:

  • Determine the metabolic pathways especially the role of CO2 in acetate production by AOM.  
  • Determine the physiological and microbial processes involved in anodic AOM.  
  • Investigate the impact of extreme environmental conditions on AOM.
  • Determine the functions of other important microorganisms found in AOM reactors.
  • Develop and optimise membrane reactor materials and configuration for sustainable acetate production.


  • Cai, C., Shi, Y., Guo, J., Tyson, G.W., Hu, S., Yuan, Z., (2019) Acetate production from anaerobic oxidation of methane via intracellular storage compounds. Environmental Science and Technology 53(13), 7371-7379.
  • Zhang, X., Xia, J., Pu, J., Cai, C., Tyson, G.W., Yuan, Z., Hu, S., (2019) Biochar-mediated anaerobic oxidation of methane. Environmental Science and Technology 53(12), 6660-6668.
  • Hesamoddin Rabiee, Xueqin Zhang, Lei Ge, Shihu Hu, Mengran Li, Simon Smart, Zhonghua Zhu, and Zhiguo Yuan (2020). Tuning the Product Selectivity of the Cu Hollow Fiber Gas Diffusion Electrode for Efficient CO2 Reduction to Formate by Controlled Surface Sn Electrodeposition. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 12(19): 21670-21681.
  • Hesamoddin Rabiee, Lei Ge, Xueqin Zhang, Shihu Hu, Mengran Li and Zhiguo Yuan (2021). Gas diffusion electrodes (GDEs) for electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and dinitrogen to value-added products: a review. Energy Environ. Sci. 14(4): 1959-2008.
  • Hesamoddin Rabiee, Lei Ge, Xueqin Zhang, Shihu Hu, Mengran Li, Simon Smart, Zhonghua Zhu, Zhiguo Yuan (2021). Shape-tuned electrodeposition of bismuth-based nanosheets on flow-through hollow fiber gas diffusion electrode for high-efficiency CO2 reduction to formate.bAppl. Catal. B 286: 119945-119956.
  • Hesamoddin Rabiee, Lei Ge, Xueqin Zhang, Shihu Hu, Mengran Li, Simon Smart, Zhonghua Zhu, Hao Wang, Zhiguo Yuan (2021). Stand-alone asymmetric hollow fiber gas-diffusion electrodes with distinguished bronze phases for high-efficiency CO2 electrochemical reduction. Appl. Catal. B 298: 120538-120548.

Project members

Dr Xueqin Zhang

Research Fellow
Australian Centre for Water and Environmental Biotechnology

Other members

  • Dr Chen Cai
  • Dr Andy Leu
  • Ms Hui Chen
  • Professor Gene Tyson

Associate Professor Shihu Hu

UQ Amplify Researcher
Australian Centre for Water and Environmental Biotechnology