New link could battle greenhouse gas emissions

Jul 30, 2013

The discovery of a new form of microbial life that can consume the potent greenhouse gas methane has earned University of Queensland (UQ) researchers a place in the prestigious journal Nature.

The research and the Nature article are the results of collaboration between UQ's Advanced Water Management Centre (AWMC) and the Australian Centre for Ecogenomics.

The newly discovered microbial process turns methane into carbon dioxide while breathing nitrate instead of oxygen.

Advanced Water Management Centre Deputy Director Professor Zhiguo Yuan, a lead researcher on the project, said the previously unrecognised metabolism formed a new link between the global nitrogen and .

"This finding could potentially play an important role in the regulation of emissions of methane, a strong greenhouse gas, from aquatic environments to atmosphere, and also has great potential to revolutionise biological wastewater treatment," Professor Yuan said.

UQ's research group, led by Professor Yuan and Dr Gene Tyson, has sequenced the genome of this novel micro-organism.

"Given the simultaneous presence of methane and nitrate in many , we believe this micro-organism could consume vast amounts of methane, preventing it from reaching the atmosphere," Dr Tyson said.

Advanced Water Management Centre Director Professor Jurg Keller said publication of the team's research in Nature was recognition of years of research.

"This research benefited from this multi-disciplinary approach and the close collaboration between process engineers and scientists," Professor Keller said.

Explore further: Fighting the global water scarcity issue

More information: www.nature.com/nature/journal/… ull/nature12375.html

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Methane-eating microbes found in Illinois aquifer

Jul 25, 2013

Methane-consuming microbes live deep underground in pristine aquifers, according to a study by the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory and the Environmental Protection Agency. This type of organism, which ...

Developing a new laser to detect methane leaks

Jun 26, 2013

(Phys.org) —University of Adelaide researchers are developing a new type of laser system that will monitor methane, the main component of natural gas, levels across large areas. This will provide a useful tool for monitoring ...

How methane becomes fish food

Aug 27, 2012

Methane is an organic carbon compound containing the fundamental building block of nearly all living material: carbon. It provides an important source of energy and nutrients for bacteria. Methane is produced in oxygen-free ...

Recommended for you

2014 Antarctic ozone hole holds steady

3 hours ago

The Antarctic ozone hole reached its annual peak size on Sept. 11, according to scientists from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The size of this year's hole was 24.1 million ...

New study finds oceans arrived early to Earth

6 hours ago

Earth is known as the Blue Planet because of its oceans, which cover more than 70 percent of the planet's surface and are home to the world's greatest diversity of life. While water is essential for life ...

Magma pancakes beneath Lake Toba

6 hours ago

Where do the tremendous amounts of material that are ejected to from huge volcanic calderas during super-eruptions actually originate?

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.