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


Ancient microbes may hold key to lower emissions

Ancient microbes may hold key to lowering greenhouse gas emissions

1 December 2006

AgResearch scientist Dr Keith Joblin and French researcher Dr Gérard Fonty have been jointly awarded the inaugural ‘Dumont D’Urville’ award for biotechnology studies involving France and New Zealand by the French Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the NZ Ministry of Research, Science and Technology.

Palmerston North based Dr Joblin and University Blaise Pascal, Clermont-Ferrand based Dr Fonty have been investigating possible novel uses for methane-utilising microbes in Lake Pavin, a 6000 year old crater mountain lake in the Auvergne region of France.

The lake is highly unusual because its deepest portion has evolved without mixing between different layers. This has enabled microbes to evolve undisturbed for a very long period. French scientists have found that the deep layer contains novel microbes which utilise methane in the absence of oxygen.

Methane, one of New Zealand’s major greenhouse gases, is produced in similar anaerobic conditions in the stomach of cows and sheep and is the focus of a large scale research programme funded by the pastoral sector through the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium and Crown.

“The early phase of our study is to obtain as much information as possible on these microbes,” said Dr Joblin.

“In the longer term, the aim is to determine whether the unusual methane-utilising microbes from Lake Pavin can be introduced to the rumen to mop up methane before it is released to the environment as a greenhouse gas”.

He said that as part of the study Dr Fonty is visiting AgResearch in and during the visit they will consider whether NZ has lakes similar to Lake Pavin and whether these also contain methane-utilising microbes.

The award, named after the famous French explorer Dumont D’Urville (as per Durville Island) who explored New Zealand several times in the 1800s.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Grey Power: Is Disappointed To Learn Of More Bank Closures

Many older people are being left without essential services because of cost cutting and the march of modern technology. It is now expected that most banking transactions can occur via the internet or telephone. Jan Pentecost, President of the Grey Power ... More>>


Economy: Supply Chain On Brink Of Overload Says National Road Carriers

The New Zealand supply chain is on the brink of overload and it looks like the upcoming peak imports season may push it over the edge says National Road Carriers Association (NRC) CEO David Aitken. “Worldwide supply chains are in disarray,” says Mr Aitken. ... More>>

Retail: Supermarkets Announced As Government’s Second Market Study

The Government has today launched a market study to ensure New Zealanders are paying a fair price for groceries. More>>


Statistics New Zealand: Retail Sales Recover In The September 2020 Quarter

Retail sales values recorded the largest September quarter rise since the series began in 1995, Stats NZ said today. Spending on major household items, vehicles, and groceries contributed to the strong 7.4 percent ($1.8 billion) rise in total ... More>>

Kea Aerospace: New Zealand Flies Into The Stratosphere

Development has started on a solar-powered, unmanned aircraft that can fly in the stratosphere continuously for months at a time. The zero-emission aircraft will carry a suite of imagery equipment that will be game-changing for many industries, vastly ... More>>

Stats NZ: Births And Deaths: Year Ended September 2020

Births and deaths releases provide statistics on the number of births and deaths registered in New Zealand, and selected fertility and mortality rates. Key facts For the year ended September 2020: 57,753 live births and 32,670 deaths ... More>>


Forest & Bird: Kākāpō Wins Bird Of The Year 2020

The nation has voted and Aotearoa New Zealand has a new Bird of the Year. New Zealand’s moss-colored flightless parrot has climbed to the top-spot for the second time in Forest & Bird’s annual Te Manu Rongonui o Te Tau/Bird of the Year competition. ... More>>