Deep-water microbes recently discovered could eat greenhouse gases

New microbes capable of "devouring greenhouse gases" have been discovered at the bottom of the ocean.

Scientists have discovered nearly two dozen new types of microbes during the investigation, many of which consume greenhouse gases to survive.

As climate change concerns grow, scientists now hope that these microbes can be used to preserve the environment.

An article from the University of Texas, published in Nature Communications, explains how microbes "engulf" hydrocarbons such as methane and butane.

They use these underwater gases as sources of energy to survive and grow.

This suggests that these newly discovered bacteria could already contribute to limiting the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Scientists have also suggested that this "swallowing" mechanism could also be used to clean up oil spills in the future.

The new microbes were found in the Guaymas Basin, located in the Gulf of California.

According to the researchers, the new species are so genetically different from the previously studied microbes that they "represent new branches in the tree of life".

The study notes that these species possess a "power to eat pollutants" and could help fight global warming.

"This shows that deep oceans contain unexplored biodiversity and that microscopic organisms are able to degrade oil and other harmful chemicals," said Brett Baker, a professor of marine science, who led 39; study.

He added, "Under the sea floor, there are now huge reservoirs of hydrocarbon gases, including methane, propane, butane and others, which prevent greenhouse gases from being released into the atmosphere. 'atmosphere.

To make this discovery, the researchers had to move in depth with the submarine Alvin.

It was the same submarine that found the Titanic, the "unsinkable" steamer that sank after hitting an iceberg in 1912.

Researchers analyzed sediments collected 2 km below the surface.

At this depth, volcanic activity raises temperatures to around 392 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is in this hostile environment where there are 22 new entries in the tree of life.

"The tree of life is something that people have been trying to understand since Darwin proposed the concept more than 150 years ago and it's still that moving target," Baker said.

"Trying to map the tree is really crucial to understanding all aspects of biology."

"With DNA sequencing and the computer approaches we use, we are getting closer and things are growing fast."

According to Baker, there is considerable hope of finding even more useful microbes in the underwater depths.

"We think it is probably only the tip of the iceberg in terms of diversity in the Guaymas Basin," the professor said.

"So we do a lot more DNA sequencing to try to figure out how much is left over.

"This document is really just our first indication of what these things are and what they do."

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