Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

World-first technology enables study of ancient bacteria

07.06.2005


Sustainable energy source could solve Bermuda Triangle riddle



Experts at Cardiff University, UK, have designed world-first technology to investigate sustainable energy sources from the ocean bed by isolating ancient high-pressure bacteria from deep sediments.

Scientists and engineers at Cardiff University are investigating bacteria from deep sediments which despite high pressures (greater than 1,000 atmospheres), gradually increasing temperatures (from an icy 2°C to over 100°C), great depth (several kilometres) and age (many millions of years) may contain most of the bacteria on Earth.


Some of these bacteria produce methane that accumulates in "gas hydrates" – a super concentrated methane ice that contains more carbon than all conventional fossil fuels and, therefore, a potentially enormous energy source. However, we know little about gas hydrates as they melt during recovery due to the fall in pressure.

Professor R. John Parkes, of the School of Earth, Ocean and Planetary Sciences at Cardiff University, is leading part of a major European Union project, called HYACINTH which is developing systems to recover gas hydrates and bacteria under high pressure.

He has turned to experts in the University’s Manufacturing Engineering Centre to help create a system that would enable his team to grow, isolate and study these ancient bacteria in the laboratory.

"DNA analysis of deep sediments has shown diverse bacterial populations, including major new types, but we have been unable to culture them and this might be because we have not been able to keep them at the very high pressures which they need to survive," said Professor Parkes.

The Manufacturing Engineering Centre in the School of Engineering has helped design and produce a high-pressure system, which is the first of its kind in the world.

Using titanium and stainless steel alloys, and sapphire windows, the Centre’s experts have built an isolation system, as well as a special cutting chamber to enable scientists to take precise sediment samples and grow bacteria from them at pressures as high as 1,000 atmospheres. A special ram for the system was produced by the Technical University, Berlin.

As well as studying potentially the deepest organisms on Earth this research might also throw light on the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle by finding out more about the behaviour of the mysterious hydrates.

One theory now suggests that when the covering of "methane ice" which exists over much of the seabed of the Bermuda Triangle becomes unstable; this causes instability of the sea and an explosive mixture of air and methane above. Any ships or planes travelling over the area could sink or catch fire.

"So ancient, deep-sediment bacteria may be a key to sustainable energy in the future and to explaining a few disasters," said Professor Parkes.

Prof. R.John Parkes | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cardiff.ac.uk

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Open, flexible assembly platform for optical systems
24.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnologie IPT

nachricht A big nano boost for solar cells
18.01.2017 | Kyoto University and Osaka Gas effort doubles current efficiencies

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Scientists spin artificial silk from whey protein

X-ray study throws light on key process for production

A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Breaking the optical bandwidth record of stable pulsed lasers

24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Choreographing the microRNA-target dance

24.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Spanish scientists create a 3-D bioprinter to print human skin

24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>