Researchers hope to use these findings to accelerate methane production. Researchers from North Carolina State University claim to have identified the microbe that responsible for the build up of large quantities of methane in landfill sites.

It has long been known that landfills produce methane, but since landfills do not start out as a friendly environment for the organisms that produce methane, scientists had a hard time figuring out why.

Research from North Carolina State University however, shows that one species of microbe is paving the way for other methane producers. Specifically, the researchers say that they have found that an anaerobic bacterium called Methanosarcina barkeri (M barkeri) appears to be the key microbe.

Thin-section electron micrographs of M. barkeri Fusaro. Cells cultured in low-saline medium (A) grow as multicellular aggregates embedded in a methanochondroitin matrix (mc). Cells cultured in marine medium (B) grow as single cells without the methanochondroitin outer layer. When grown with hydrogen, gas vesicles (gv) are observed in some cells. Bar, 1.0 μm.