Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bacteria combat dangerous gas leaks

Date:
April 28, 2014
Source:
University of East Anglia
Summary:
New research shows bacteria combat dangerous gas leaks. Bacteria could mop up naturally-occurring and human-made leaks of natural gases before they are released into the atmosphere and cause global warming, according to new research.

Bacteria could mop up naturally-occurring and human-made leaks of natural gases before they are released into the atmosphere and cause global warming, according to new research from the University of East Anglia.

Findings published today in the journal Nature shows how a single bacterial strain (Methylocella silvestris) found in soil and other environments around the world can grow on both the methane and propane found in natural gas.

It was originally thought that the ability to metabolize methane and other gaseous alkanes such as propane was carried out by different groups of bacteria. This new finding is important because it means that one type of bacteria can mop up the components of natural gas very efficiently and reduce pollution.

The findings could help mitigate the effects of the release of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere from both natural gas seeps in the environment and those arising from human-made activity such as fracking and oil spills.

Researchers studied the bacterium Methylocella which is normally found in peat, tundra, and forest soils in Northern Europe. This type of bacterium has also been found among the microbial community following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. They then measured its ability to grow on methane and other gases.

Lead researcher Prof Colin Murrell, from UEA's school of Environmental Sciences, said: "Natural gas from geological sources contains methane, as well as substantial quantities of ethane, propane and butane.

"We have shown that one microbe can grow on both methane and propane at a similar rate. This is because it contains two fascinating enzyme systems which it uses to harness both gases at once.

"This is very important for environments exposed to natural gas, either naturally or through human activity. These microbes may play an important role in mitigating the effects of methane and other gases before they have a chance to escape into the atmosphere.

"These findings could be used to inform land use management decisions. For example areas where high levels of methane and propane are released could benefit from an environment rich in these microbes, which live naturally in soil.

"Methane is a potent greenhouse gas which is released from natural sources such as wetlands, as well as from human activities including waste management, the oil and gas industries, rice production and livestock farming. Globally, it is estimated that more than half of methane emissions are human-made.

"Molecule-for-molecule, the effect of methane on global warming is more than 20 times greater than carbon dioxide over a 100 year timeframe. It is therefore very important that we understand how it can be removed biologically in the environment before it is released into the atmosphere."

The research was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Norwich Research Park Earth and Life Systems Alliance.

'Trace-gas metabolic versatility of the facultative methanotroph Methylocella silvestris' by Andrew Crombie and Colin Murrell is published in the journal Nature on Monday, April 28, 2014.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of East Anglia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Andrew T. Crombie, J. Colin Murrell. Trace-gas metabolic versatility of the facultative methanotroph Methylocella silvestris. Nature, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/nature13192

Cite This Page:

University of East Anglia. "Bacteria combat dangerous gas leaks." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140428120757.htm>.
University of East Anglia. (2014, April 28). Bacteria combat dangerous gas leaks. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140428120757.htm
University of East Anglia. "Bacteria combat dangerous gas leaks." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140428120757.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Will Climate Rallies Spur Change?

Will Climate Rallies Spur Change?

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) Organizers of the People's Climate March and other rallies taking place in 166 countries hope to move U.N. officials to action ahead of their summit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands March in NYC Over Climate Change

Thousands March in NYC Over Climate Change

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Accompanied by drumbeats, wearing costumes and carrying signs, thousands of demonstrators filled the streets of Manhattan and other cities around the world on Sunday to urge policy makers to take action on climate change. (Sept. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

AFP (Sep. 20, 2014) Some 125 world leaders are expected to commit to action on climate change at a UN summit Tuesday called to inject momentum in struggling efforts to tackle global warming. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Jars, bottles, caps and even a pizza box, recovered from the trash, were the elements used by four musical groups at the "RSFEST2014 Sonorities Recycling Festival", in Colombian city of Cali. Duration: 00:49 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins