The reliability and accuracy with which enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and an assay of methanogenic cofactors detect and quantify methanogenic species were investigated. Both assays required standardization with laboratory cultures of methanogenic bacteria and were applied to mixtures of pure cultures and samples from anaerobic digesters. ELISA was shown to be a simple method for detecting and quantifying individual methanogenic species. The range of species which can be assayed is limited by the range of antisera available but, potentially, ELISA can be applied to all methanogens. Although the cofactor assay is not species-specific it can distinguish hydrogenotrophic and acetotrophic methanogens and is quantitative.