Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Microorganisms Cited as Missing Factor in Climate Change Equation

Those seeking to understand and predict climate change can now use an additional tool to calculate carbon dioxide exchanges on land, according to a scientific journal article publishing this week.

The research, publishing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’ Early Edition, incorporates into global computer models the significant impact an enzyme, carbonic anhydrase, has on the chemical form of carbon dioxide released from the soils and reduces uncertainties in estimates of CO2 taken up and released in terrestrial ecosystems.

The same enzyme is present in foliage and soils, but leaves a different imprint on CO2 involved in photosynthesis and respired by soils.

“Our paper presents measurements from all the major regions of the world where we have experimentally determined the effect of this enzyme, produced by many microorganisms, on carbon dioxide released from the soil,” said Dr. Behzad Mortazavi, an assistant professor of biological sciences at The University of Alabama, and a co-author of the article.

In computer models used to estimate and predict carbon dioxide, or CO2, exchange, scientists had previously incorporated the role this enzyme plays in the vegetation, but had neglected to include its role in soils, according to the collaborative paper written by 18 co-authors from around the world.

Revising the computer model predictions to take the soil enzymes’ impact on CO2 into account reduces the discrepancies between the model and atmospheric observations, according to the paper whose lead authors are Lisa Wingate and Jérôme Ogée, representing the University of Edinburg and the French National Institute for Agricultural Research, respectively.

While scientists had suspected the enzyme was also active in soils, Mortazavi said the impact of the enzymes within soil on CO2 had been difficult to measure and thereby was not factored into the computer models.

In order to effectively tackle the complexities regarding human’s impact on climate changes, it’s important to accurately understand the natural processes, the UA scientist said.

“In general, it’s very challenging to determine how much carbon is taken up by photosynthesis versus how much carbon is released by respiration,” Mortazavi said.

“It’s important to know the contributions of these two processes because as the climate is warming, the balance between carbon taken up and released on land will change. Warmer temperatures can increase the microbial activity in the soils, leading to a greater release of CO2 from the soil.”

Ideally, the amount of carbon dioxide removed naturally through the carbon cycle balances the total carbon dioxide emissions. The amount of carbon released into the atmosphere has grown out of balance because of the increased number of human activities such as the use of fossil fuels, many scientists believe.

As the world debates what steps should be taken to address human activities believed to contribute to climate change, Mortazavi said it’s important the naturally occurring processes are measured accurately, something to which this research will contribute.

“This is an additional tool to look separately at the uptake of CO2 by photosynthesis, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the release of CO2 by respiration.”

Source: Dr. Behzad Mortazavi, 251/861-2189,

Chris Bryant | Newswise Science News
Further information:

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Jacobs University supports new mapping of Mars, Mercury and the Moon
21.03.2018 | Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH

nachricht Thawing permafrost produces more methane than expected
20.03.2018 | GFZ GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam, Helmholtz Centre

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

TRAPPIST-1 planets provide clues to the nature of habitable worlds

21.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

The search for dark matter widens

21.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Natural enemies reduce pesticide use

21.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>