1. A study was made of the incorporation of carbon from [14C]methanol by cultures of Methylococcus capsulatus and Methanomonas methanooxidans growing on methane. 2. The distribution of radioactivity within the non-volatile constituents of the ethanol-soluble fractions of the cells, after incubation with labelled substrate for periods of up to 3min, was analysed by chromatography and radioautography. 3. Over 80% of the radioactivity fixed by Methylococcus capsulatus at 30°C at the earliest times of sampling appeared in phosphorylated compounds, of which glucose phosphate constituted 60%. 4. Most of the radioactivity fixed by Methanomonas methanooxidans at 30°C at the earliest times of sampling appeared in serine, malate, aspartate and an unknown compound(s) tentatively suggested to be folate derivative(s). At 16°C, [14C]methanol was fixed predominantly into serine and the unknown compound(s). 5. Extracts of Methylococcus capsulatus contain an enzyme system that catalyses the condensation of formaldehyde and ribose 5-phosphate to give a mixture consisting mainly of fructose phosphate and allulose phosphate. No similar activity was detected in extracts of Methanomonas methanooxidans. A convenient method was developed for assay of this enzyme system. 6. The enzyme system catalysing the condensation of formaldehyde with ribose 5-phosphate is particle-bound in both Methylococcus capsulatus and Pseudomonas methanica and is unstable in the absence of Mg2+. 7. Extracts of Methanomonas methanooxidans contain high activities of d-glycerate–NAD oxidoreductase, whereas extracts of Methylococcus capsulatus and Pseudomonas methanica contain negligible activities of this enzyme. 8. These results indicate that during growth of Methylococcus capsulatus on methane, as with Pseudomonas methanica, cell constituents are made by the ribose phosphate cycle of formaldehyde fixation. This contrasts with Methanomonas methanooxidans, whose assimilation pathway resembles in some features that of Pseudomonas AM1 growing on methanol.

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