Navigation Links
Deep sea methane scavengers captured
Date:5/14/2008

Leipzig / Pasadena. Scientists of the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Leipzig and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena succeeded in capturing syntrophic (means "feeding together") microorganisms that are known to dramatically reduce the oceanic emission of methane into the atmosphere. These microorganisms that oxidize methane anaerobically are an important component of the global carbon cycle and a major sink for methane on Earth. Methane -- a more than 20 times stronger greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide -- constantly seeps out large methane hydrate reservoirs in the ocean floors, but 80 percent of it are immediately consumed by these microorganisms. The importance of the anaerobic oxidation of methane for the Earth's climate is known since 1999 and various international research groups work on isolating the responsible microorganisms, so far with little success. Pernthaler and co-workers developed a new molecular technique to selectively separate these microorganisms from their natural complex community, and subsequently sequenced their genome. The findings were exciting: Besides identifying all genes responsible for the anaerobic oxidation of methane, new bacterial partners of this syntrophic association were discovered and the ability to fix N2 could be demonstrated. The work has been published in the current issue of the renowned Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The beauty of small things revealed

Microorganisms are the unseen majority on our planet: There are more than 100 Million times more microbial cells than stars in the visible universe, accounting for more than 90 percent of the Earth's biomass. Yet, we have little idea what most of these bacteria and archaea are doing. It is not only their small size that makes them hard to study. Most microorganisms can not be grown, and thus studied, in the lab. But recent developments of new molecular techniques allow the study of microorganisms where they live: In nature. This is leading to an explosion of knowledge with no end in sight. One of these techniques is genome sequencing - learning about the genetic make-up of an organism. This works well for single organisms, such as the sequencing of the human genome. The complexity of natural microbial communities, however, is a major problem. The vast collection of genes can often not be linked to an organism or a physiological process. This plenitude of general information can be compared to a one-billion pieces puzzle of which you own only 300 pieces and you have to try to find out where which piece belongs and how the whole picture could look like.

Scientist at UFZ and Caltech now developed a method that solves this problem. Pernthaler and co-workers attached small ironbeads to the microorganisms of interest and pulled them out of the deep sea sediment by simply applying a magnet. These microbes are Archaea, which cooperate with sulfate reducing Bacteria to perform a thermodynamically tricky process: the anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM). These poorly understood consortia are globally distributed in oceanic sediments above methane hydrates and provide a significant sink for methane by substantially reducing the export of this potent greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. After sequencing the genomes of the purified syntrophic consortia, Pernthaler and co-workers could find all genes responsible for AOM. The scientist also discovered an unexpected diversity in the bacterial partners of this syntrophic association, which may play a role in the performance of AOM. Pernthaler and co-workers also found genes for N2 fixation and demonstrated in lab experiments that the AOM archaea are indeed fixing N2. These results are intriguing, especially since the fixation of N2 is energetically expensive processes and the energy gained by AOM is low. The potential for metabolic versatility combined with the ability to form partnerships with other microorganisms, might be the secret to the successful distribution of this biogeochemically significant group of microorganisms. This work is being published in PNAS, May 13th, 2008, the method has been patented (Pernthaler A, Orphan VJ (2007) US Patent 11/746,374).


'/>"/>

Contact: Tilo Arnhold
presse@ufz.de
49-341-235-1635
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Paired microbes eliminate methane using sulfur pathway
2. Scientists find good news about methane bubbling up from the ocean floor
3. Methane from microbes: a fuel for the future
4. Critically endangered Amur leopard captured
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Deep sea methane scavengers captured
(Date:3/30/2017)... NEW YORK , March 30, 2017 ... by type (physiological and behavioral), by technology (fingerprint, AFIS, ... recognition, voice recognition, and others), by end use industry ... travel and immigration, financial and banking, and others), and ... Europe , Asia Pacific ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... 2017 The report "Video Surveillance ... Servers, Storage Devices), Software (Video Analytics, VMS), and Service ... Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market was ... projected to reach USD 75.64 Billion by 2022, at ... base year considered for the study is 2016 and ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... MILAN , March 24, 2017 The Controller ... Deputy Controller Mr. Abdulla Algeen have received the prestigious international ... Continue Reading ... ... small picture) and Deputy Controller Abdulla Algeen (small picture on the right) ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/23/2017)... Switzerland (PRWEB) , ... May 23, 2017 , ... ... forces machine manufacturers to re-engineer their control technology again and again. METTLER TOLEDO ... problem for machine manufacturers. The videos illustrate how integration of the ACT350 into ...
(Date:5/21/2017)... ... May 19, 2017 , ... Ovation Fertility ... the American Association of Bioanalysts (AAB) and the College of Reproductive Biology (CRB) ... reinforces AAB’s commitment to excellence in clinical laboratory services and regulations. , ...
(Date:5/18/2017)... ... May 18, 2017 , ... Dr. Ralph Mobbs of the ... Of Wales Private Hospital. The procedure was performed on a 46-year-old male patient ... treatments prior to undergoing surgery. , The AxioMed viscoelastic disc is a next-generation ...
(Date:5/18/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... May 17, ... ... CRO standards with psychonneuroendocrine stress expertise, and further enhances its scientific power ... researcher, Douglas A. Granger, Ph.D., has agreed to join the scientific advisory ...
Breaking Biology Technology: