Low-temperature anaerobic digestion (LTAD) technology is underpinned by a diverse microbial community. The methanogenic archaea represent a key functional group in these consortia, undertaking CO2 reduction as well as acetate and methylated C-1 metabolism with subsequent biogas (40 to 60% CH4 and 30 to 50% CO2) formation. However, the cold adaptation strategies, which allow methanogens to function efficiently in LTAD, remain unclear. Here, a pure-culture proteomic approach was employed to study the functional characteristics of Methanosarcina barkeri (optimum growth temperature, 37 degrees C), which has been detected in LTAD bioreactors. Two experimental approaches were undertaken. The first approach aimed to characterize a low-temperature shock response (LTSR) of M. barkeri DSMZ 800(T) grown at 37 degrees C with a temperature drop to 15 degrees C, while the second experimental approach aimed to examine the low-temperature adaptation strategies (LTAS) of the same strain when it was grown at 15 degrees C. The latter experiment employed cell viability and growth measurements (optical density at 600 nm [OD600]), which directly compared M. barkeri cells grown at 15 degrees C with those grown at 37 degrees C. During the LTSR experiment, a total of 127 proteins were detected in 37 degrees C and 15 degrees C samples, with 20 proteins differentially expressed with respect to temperature, while in the LTAS experiment 39% of proteins identified were differentially expressed between phases of growth. Functional categories included methanogenesis, cellular information processing, and chaperones. By applying a polyphasic approach (proteomics and growth studies), insights into the low-temperature adaptation capacity of this mesophilically characterized methanogen were obtained which suggest that the metabolically diverse Methanosarcinaceae could be functionally relevant for LTAD systems.