The hydrocarbons ethane, propane and butane – as well as the main component, methane – are the major constituents of natural gas. Biological processes may lead to the degradation of these hydrocarbons in underground petroleum reservoirs and other geological habitats.
Heinz Wilkes, a leading biogeochemist at GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam (GFZ), points out: „The bacteria isolated here for the first time from marine sediments use sulphate instead of oxygen for respiration and utilize propane and butane as their sole source of carbon and energy. These organisms are tough specialists that have become adapted to strictly utilising only these and no other substrates.“The investigations showed that the bacteria employ an unprecedented biochemical mechanism for transforming what are essentially unreactive hydrocarbons into reactive metabolites which may then be further oxidised to carbon dioxide. The findings concerning this reaction mechanism are an important step in designing new synthetic methods for selectively producing chemicals from hydrocarbons.
GFZ Potsdam, a Helmholtz Centre, is Germany's National Lab for Geosciences.
Franz Ossing | alfa
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Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications
Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...
Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.
The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...
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