Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-846f6c7c4f-6khh2 Total loading time: 0.336 Render date: 2022-07-07T13:33:57.640Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

Article contents

Progress in the development of vaccines against rumen methanogens

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 June 2013

D. N Wedlock*
AgResearch, Hopkirk Research Institute, Private Bag 11008, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand
P. H. Janssen
AgResearch, Grasslands Research Centre, Private Bag 11008, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand
S. C. Leahy
AgResearch, Grasslands Research Centre, Private Bag 11008, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand
D. Shu
AgResearch, Hopkirk Research Institute, Private Bag 11008, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand
B. M. Buddle
AgResearch, Hopkirk Research Institute, Private Bag 11008, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand
Get access


Vaccination against rumen methanogens offers a practical approach to reduce methane emissions in livestock, particularly ruminants grazing on pasture. Although successful vaccination strategies have been reported for reducing the activity of the rumen-dwelling organism Streptococcus bovis in sheep and S. bovis and Lactobacillus spp. in cattle, earlier approaches using vaccines based on whole methanogen cells to reduce methane production in sheep have produced less promising results. An anti-methanogen vaccine will need to have broad specificity against methanogens commonly found in the rumen and induce antibody in saliva resulting in delivery of sufficiently high levels of antibodies to the rumen to reduce methanogen activity. Our approach has focussed on identifying surface and membrane-associated proteins that are conserved across a range of rumen methanogens. The identification of potential vaccine antigens has been assisted by recent advances in the knowledge of rumen methanogen genomes. Methanogen surface proteins have been shown to be immunogenic in ruminants and vaccination of sheep with these proteins induced specific antibody responses in saliva and rumen contents. Current studies are directed towards identifying key candidate antigens and investigating the level and types of salivary antibodies produced in sheep and cattle vaccinated with methanogen proteins, stability of antibodies in the rumen and their impact on rumen microbial populations. In addition, there is a need to identify adjuvants that stimulate high levels of salivary antibody and are suitable for formulating with protein antigens to produce a low-cost and effective vaccine.

Full Paper
Copyright © The Animal Consortium 2013 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Attwood, GT, Altermann, E, Kelly, WJ, Leahy, SC, Zhang, L, Morrison, M 2011. Exploring rumen methanogen genomes to identify targets for methane mitigation strategies. Animal Feed Science and Technology 166–167, 6575.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Aucouturier, J, Dupuis, L, Ganne, V 2001. Adjuvants designed for veterinary and human vaccine. Vaccine 19, 26662672.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bailey, CB 1961. Saliva secretion and its relation to feeding in cattle. 3. The rate of secretion of mixed saliva in the cow during eating, with an estimate of the magnitude of the total daily secretion of mixed saliva. British Journal of Nutrition 15, 443451.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Beijer, WH 1952. Methane fermentation in the rumen of cattle. Nature 170, 576577.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Biavati, B, Vasta, M, Ferry, JG 1988. Isolation and characterization of “Methanosphaera cuniculi” sp. nov. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 54, 768771.Google ScholarPubMed
Braun, U, Rihs, T, Schefer, U 1992. Ruminal lactic acidosis in sheep and goats. Veterinary Records 130, 343349.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Buddle, BM, Denis, M, Attwood, GT, Altermann, E, Janssen, PH, Ronimus, RS, Pinares-Patiño, CS, Muetzel, S, Wedlock, DN 2011. Strategies to reduce methane emissions from farmed ruminants grazing on pasture. Veterinary Journal 188, 1117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chaudhary, PP, Sirohi, SK, Saxena, J 2012. Diversity analysis of methanogens in rumen of Bubalus bulbalis by 16S riboprinting and sequence analysis. Gene 493, 1317.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Clark, H 2013. Nutritional and host effects on methanogenesis in the grazing ruminant. Animal 7 (suppl. 1), 4148.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Conway de Macario, E, Macario, AJ, Wolin, MJ 1982. Antigenic analysis of Methanomicrobiales and Methanobrevibacter arboriphilus. Journal of Bacteriology 154, 762764.Google Scholar
Conway de Macario, E, König, H, Macario, AJ, Kandler, O 1984. Six antigenic determinants in the surface layer of the archaebacterium Methanococcus vannielii revealed by monoclonal antibodies. Journal of Immunology 132, 883887.Google ScholarPubMed
Cook, SR, Maiti, PK, Chaves, AV, Benchaar, D, Beauchemin, KA, McAllister, TA 2008. Avian (IgY) anti-methanogen antibodies for reducing ruminal methane production: in vitro assessment of their effects. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 48, 260264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Francoleon, DR, Boontheung, P, Yang, Y, Kim, U, Ytterberg, AJ, Denny, PA, Denny, PC, Loo, JA, Gunsalus, RP, Ogorzalek Loo, RR 2009. S-layer surface-accessible and concanavalin A binding proteins of Methanosarcina acetivorans and Methanosarcina mazei. Journal of Proteome Research 8, 19721982.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Gill, HS, Shu, Q, Leng, RA 2000. Immunization with Streptococcus bovis protects against lactic acidosis in sheep. Vaccine 18, 25412548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hegarty, RS 1999. Reducing rumen methane emissions through elimination of rumen protozoa. Australian Journal of Agriculture Research 50, 13211327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hegarty, RS, Bird, SH, Vanselow, BA, Woodgate, R 2008. Effects of the absence of protozoa from birth or from weaning on the growth and methane production of lambs. British Journal of Nutrition 100, 12201227.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Janssen, PH 2010. Influence of hydrogen on rumen methane formation and fermentation balances through microbial growth kinetics and fermentation thermodynamics. Animal Feed Science and Technology 160, 122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Janssen, PH, Kirs, M 2008. Structure of the archaeal community of the rumen. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 74, 36193625.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Jeyanathan, J, Kirs, M, Ronimus, RS, Hoskin, SO, Janssen, PH 2011. Methanogen community structure in the rumens of farmed sheep, cattle and red deer fed different diets. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 76, 311326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kay, RN 1960. The rate of flow and composition of various salivary secretions in sheep and calves. Journal of Physiology 150, 515537.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Kim, M, Morrison, M, Yu, Z 2011. Status of the phylogenetic diversity census of ruminal microbiomes. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 76, 4963.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Kittelmann, S, Seedorf, H, Walters, WA, Clemente, JC, Knight, R, Gordon, JI, Janssen, PH 2013. Simultaneous amplicon sequencing to explore co-occurrence patterns of bacterial, archaeal and eukaryotic microorganisms in rumen microbial communities. PLoS One 8, e47879.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Leahy, SC, Kelly, WJ, Ronimus, RS, Wedlock, DN, Altermann, E, Attwood, GT 2013. Genome sequencing of rumen bacteria and archaea and its application to methane mitigation strategies. Animal (suppl. s2), 235243.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Leahy, SM, Kelly, WJ, Altermann, EH, Ronimus, RS, Yeoman, C, Pacheco, DM, Li, D, Kong, Z, McTavish, S, Sang, C, Lambie, SC, Janssen, PH, Dey, D, Attwood, GT 2010. The genome sequence of the rumen methanogen Methanobrevibacter ruminantium reveals new possibilities for controlling ruminant methane emissions. PLoS One 5, e8926.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Leslie, M, Aspin, M, Clark, H 2008. Greenhouse gas emissions from New Zealand agriculture: issues, perspectives and industry response. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 48, 15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Martin, C, Morgavi, DP, Doreau, M 2010. Methane mitigation in ruminants: from microbe to the farm scale. Animal 4, 351365.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Miller, TL, Wolin, MJ 1985. Methanosphaera stadtmaniae gen. nov., sp. nov.: a species that forms methane by reducing methanol with hydrogen. Archives of Microbiology 141, 116122.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Nagaraja, TG, Titgemeyer, EC 2007. Ruminal acidosis in beef cattle: the current microbiological and nutritional outlook. Journal of Dairy Science 90 (suppl.), E17E38.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Ørskov, ER, Ryle, M 1990. Energy nutrition in ruminants. Elsevier, London and New York.Google Scholar
Paul, K, Nonoh, JO, Mikulski, L, Brune, A 2012. Methanoplasmatales’, Thermoplasmatales-related archaea in termite guts and other environments, are the seventh order of methanogens. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 78, 82458253.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Paynter, MJB, Hungate, RE 1968. Characterization of Methanobacterium mobilis, sp. n., isolated from the bovine rumen. Journal of Bacteriology 95, 19431951.Google Scholar
Pinares-Patino, CS, Lassey, KR, Martin, RJ, Molano, G, Fernandez, M, MacLean, S, Sandoval, E, Luo, D, Clark, H 2011. Assessment of the sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) tracer technique using respiration chambers for estimation of methane emissions from sheep. Animal Feed Science and Technology 166–167, 201209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rowe, JB, Loughnan, ML, Nolan, JV, Leng, RA 1979. Secondary fermentation in the rumen of a sheep given a diet based on molasses. British Journal of Nutrition 41, 393396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shin, EC, Choi, BR, Lim, WJ, Hong, SY, An, CL, Cho, KM, Kim, YK, An, JM, Kang, JM, Lee, SS, Kim, H, Yun, HD 2004. Phylogenetic analysis of archaea in three fractions of cow rumen based on the 16S rDNA sequence. Anaerobe 10, 313319.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Shu, Q, Gill, HS, Leng, RA, Rowe, JB 2000a. Immunisation with a Streptococcus bovis vaccine administered by different routes against lactic acidosis in sheep. The Veterinary Journal 159, 262269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shu, Q, Gill, HS, Hennessy, DW, Leng, RA, Bird, SH, Rowe, JB 1999. Immunisation against lactic acidosis in cattle. Research in Veterinary Science 67, 6571.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Shu, Q, Bir, SH, Gill, HS, Duan, E, Xu, Y, Hiliard, MA, Rowe, JB 2001. Antibody response in sheep following immunization with Streptococcus bovis in different adjuvants. Veterinary Research Communication 25, 4354.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Shu, Q, Hillard, MA, Bindon, BM, Duan, E, Xu, Y, Bird, SH, Rowe, JB, Oddy, VH, Gill, HS 2000b. Effects of various adjuvants on efficacy of a vaccine against Streptococcus bovis and Lactobacillus spp., in cattle. American Journal of Veterinary Research 61, 839843.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Smith, PH, Hungate, RE 1958. Isolation and characterization of Methanobacterium ruminantium sp. nov. Journal of Bacteriology 75, 713718.Google Scholar
Sprenger, WW, van Belzen, MC, Rosenberg, J, Hackstein, JH, Keltjens, JT 2000. Methanomicrococcus blatticola gen. nov., sp. nov., a methanol- and methylamine-reducing methanogen from the hindgut of the cockroach Periplaneta americana. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology 50, 19891999.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Tajima, K, Nagamine, T, Matsui, H, Nakamura, M, Aminov, RI 2001. Phylogenetic analysis of archaeal 16S rRNA libraries from the rumen suggests the existence of a novel group of archaea not associated with known methanogens. FEMS Microbiology Letters 200, 6772.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Thomson, AL, Staats, HF 2011. Cytokines: the future of intranasal vaccine adjuvants. Clinical and Developmental Immunology 2011, article 289597.Google Scholar
Vujanic, A, Sutton, P, Snibson, KJ, Yen, HH, Scheerlinck, JPY 2012. Mucosal vaccination: lung versus nose. Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology 148, 172177.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Wedlock, DN, Keen, DL, Aldwell, FE, Andersen, P, Buddle, BM 2002. Effect of adjuvants on immune responses of cattle vaccinated with culture filtrate proteins from Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology 86, 7988.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Wedlock, DN, Pedersen, G, Denis, M, Dey, D, Janssen, PH, Buddle, BM 2010. Development of a vaccine to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture: vaccination of sheep with methanogen fractions induces antibodies that block methane production in vitro. New Zealand Veterinary Journal 58, 2936.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Williams, YJ, Popovski, S, Rea, SM, Skillman, LC, Toovey, AF, Northwood, KS, Wright, ADG 2009. A vaccine against rumen methanogens can alter the composition of archaeal populations. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 75, 18601866.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Williams, YJ, Rea, SM, Popovski, S, Pimm, CL, Williams, AJ, Toovey, AF, Skillman, LC, Wright, ADG 2008. Responses of sheep to a vaccination of entodinial or mixed rumen protozoal antigens to reduce rumen protozoal numbers. British Journal of Nutrition 99, 100109.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Wright, ADG, Toovey, AF, Pimm, CL 2006. Molecular identification of methanogen archaea from sheep in Queensland, Australia reveal more uncultured novel archaea. Anaerobe 12, 134139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wright, ADG, Kennedy, P, O'Neill, CJ, Toovey, AF, Popovski, S, Rea, SM, Pimm, CL, Klein, L 2004. Reducing methane emissions in sheep by immunization against rumen methanogens. Vaccine 22, 39763985.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Yanagita, K, Kamagata, Y, Kawaharasaki, M, Suzuki, T, Nakamura, Y, Minato, H 2000. Phylogenetic analysis of methanogens in sheep rumen ecosystem and detection of Methanomicrobium mobile by fluorescence in situ hybridization. Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry 64, 17371742.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Progress in the development of vaccines against rumen methanogens
Available formats

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Progress in the development of vaccines against rumen methanogens
Available formats

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Progress in the development of vaccines against rumen methanogens
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *