Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Newly discovered microbe holds key to global warming

Scientists from The University of Queensland have discovered a microbe that is set to play a significant role in future global warming.

UQ's Australian Centre for Ecogenomics researcher Ben Woodcroft said the methane-producing micro-organism, known as a ‘methanogen’, was thriving in northern Sweden’s thawing permafrost in a thick subsurface layer of soil that has previously remained frozen.

Mr Woodcroft said no one knew of the microbe’s existence or how it worked before the research discovery.

He said global warming trends meant vast areas of permafrost would continue to thaw, allowing the microbes to flourish in organic matter and drive methane gas release, which would further fuel global warming.

“The micro-organism generates methane by using carbon dioxide and hydrogen from the bacteria it lives alongside,” Mr Woodcroft said.

Lead researcher and UQ’s Australian Centre for Ecogenomics Deputy Director Associate Professor Gene Tyson said the findings were significant.
“This micro-organism is responsible for producing a substantial fraction of methane at this site,” he said.

“Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with about 25 times the warming capacity of carbon dioxide.”

The researchers showed the organism and its close relatives live not just in thawing permafrost but in many other methane-producing habitats worldwide.

The team made the discovery by using DNA from soil samples and reconstructing a near-complete genome of the microbe, bypassing traditional methods of cultivating microbes in the lab.

The ‘Discovery of a novel methanogen prevalent in thawing permafrost’ research is published here in the journal Nature Communications.

The work was funded by the United States Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research’s Genomic Science Program and the Australian Research Council

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Insurance: EQC To Double Payout, Scrap Contents Insurance

New Zealand’s Earthquake Commission may double its payout amount, scrap contents insurance and process claims through private insurers under the government’s long-running review of funding and management of the state-run earthquake insurer. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Tiwai Point (And Saying “No” In Greece)

Its hard to see how Rio Tinto’s one month delay in announcing its intentions about the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter is a good sign for (a) the jobs of the workers affected or (b) for the New Zealand taxpayer. More>>

ALSO:

Half Empty: Dairy Product Prices Extend Slide To Six-Year Low

Dairy product prices continued their slide, paced by whole milk power, in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction, weakening to the lowest level in six years. More>>

ALSO:

Copper Broadband: Regulator Set To Keep Chorus Pricing Largely Unchanged

The Commerce Commission looks likely to settle on a price close to its original decision on what telecommunications network operator Chorus can charge its customers, though it probably won’t backdate any update. More>>

ALSO:

Lower Levy For Safer Cars: ACC Backtracks On Safety Assessments

Dog and Lemon: “The ACC has based the entire levy system on a set of badly flawed data from Monash University. This Monash data is riddled with errors and false assumptions; that’s the real reason for the multiple mistakes in setting ACC levies.” More>>

ALSO:

Fast Track: TPP Negotiations Set To Accelerate, Groser Says

Negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership will accelerate in July, with New Zealand officials working to stitch up a deal by the month's end, according to Trade Minister Tim Groser. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news