Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Malaspina discovers the key to the long-term storage of DOC in the deep ocean

24.03.2015

Microorganisms do not degrade this material because each of the compounds that make it up are found in too low concentrations

Researchers from the Malaspina Expedition have made strides in the understanding of the mechanisms governing the persistence of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) for hundreds or thousands of years in the deep ocean. Most of this material is below 1,000 meters deep, but it is not degraded by bacteria.


This is a CTD oceanography instrument used by researchers from the Malaspina Expedition.

Credit: CSIC / JOAN COSTA

Until now, it was thought that it consisted of non-degradable chemical compounds, but this study shows that it actually comprises very low concentrations of thousands of readily degradable compounds. The finding, published in the latest issue of the Science journal, provides new keys to further deepen the understanding of the regulation of the carbon cycle and the global climate.

The ocean contains an enormous amount of carbon in the form of dissolved organic matter. Its volume, about 700 billion kilograms, is comparable to all the carbon dioxide accumulated in the atmosphere, or more than 200 times greater than the sum of all the carbon contained in marine organisms.

Jesus Maria Arrieta, researcher from the Malaspina Expedition, states: "It is estimated that between 30% and 50% of the production of organic matter from the ocean, which, in turn, is half the production of the global organic matter, is released in the form of DOC in the ocean. Recognizing the mechanisms that enable this dissolved organic material to be persistent in the deep ocean is crucial to understand the regulation of the carbon cycle and the global climate".

The circumnavigation, performed by the Hesperides vessel as part of the Malaspina project, was a unique opportunity to obtain samples from the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. For this study, scientists have used samples of dissolved organic material from the deep ocean obtained at different depths between 1,000 and 4,000 meters.

Up to present, it was thought that this organic material dissolved in the deep ocean was resistant to microbial degradation as it consists of recalcitrant or highly resistant chemical structures. According to this new study, if bacteria can not cope with the thousands of different molecules that make up the carbon is because they are found in a very low concentration. The expenditure of energy by bacteria to use each of these molecules can not be compensated by the low concentration available, which prevents its degradation.

CSIC researcher emphasizes: "By offering concentrated organic material from the deep water to bacteria, we have observed a stimulation of growth at higher concentrations, i.e., this organic material from the deep ocean, hitherto considered to be little or not degradable at all, is actually readily degradable for the deep-ocean microorganisms. The reason is that this large amount of organic carbon is a mixture of "leftovers" from easily degradable materials, but their use is limited by the existing low concentrations of each compound".

Mechanisms governing the climate

According to previous studies, an increase in the concentration of DOC in the deep ocean in the past might have entailed a removal of CO2 from the atmosphere and a cooling effect on the planet. Arrieta adds: "It has been recently proposed to attempt to promote the microbial production of recalcitrant natural compounds in order to sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in the ocean. Our work indicates that the potential of this proposal would be very limited".

###

The Malaspina Expedition is a Consolider-Ingenio 2010 project managed by CSIC and funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. Malaspina comprises about 50 research groups, including 27 Spanish groups from CSIC, the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO), 16 Spanish universities, a museum, the research foundation AZTI-Tecnalia, and the Spanish Navy. The total funding, in which CSIC, IEO, BBVA Foundation, AZTI-TEcnalia (as well as several Spanish universities and public research organizations) have collaborated, is about 6 millions euros.

Media Contact

Alda Ólafsson
alda.olafsson@csic.es
0034-915-681-499

 @CSIC

http://www.csic.es 

Alda Ólafsson | EurekAlert!

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Geophysicists and atmospheric scientists partner to track typhoons' seismic footprints
16.02.2018 | Princeton University

nachricht NASA finds strongest storms in weakening Tropical Cyclone Sanba
15.02.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

Im Focus: Autonomous 3D scanner supports individual manufacturing processes

Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).

Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fingerprints of quantum entanglement

16.02.2018 | Information Technology

'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers

16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm

16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>