Since then, no other large-scale biological formation of oxygen has been found, until now. New research results show that down in the dark depths of the soil, a previously unknown biochemical process is under way, in which oxygen is formed and carbon dioxide is reduced to organic material.
“The results show that there is a highly unexpected biochemical process going on in forest-, agricultural- and grassland soils. This is knowledge that should be possible to apply in our continued work on reducing the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and countering the greenhouse effect,” says Professor Siegfried Fleischer of Halmstad University, who initiated the study “Dark Oxidation of Water in Soils”, which was just recently published in Tellus B: Chemical and Physical Meteorology.
The discovery is a consequence of a research track that, from the beginning, was not in line with current views of the soil ecosystem. Professor Fleischer stumbled across the phenomenon when he studied nitrification, an oxygen-consuming process in the ground. The consumption of oxygen was expected to increase when ammonia was supplied, but analyses in the laboratory rather showed that more oxygen was being produced. When the experiment was repeated, this “anomaly” showed up again and again. This new, unequivocal pattern in the results indicated the need for a new concept. Professor Fleischer took up the challenge.
He made the assumption that the bewildering result could be explained if water, which is present everywhere, contributes to reducing carbon dioxide to organic material down in the dark depths of the soil. The fact that this process takes place without sunlight, as is the case with plants, was however something completely outside current knowledge and accepted views. Professor Fleischer, however, went further, with this as his working hypothesis.
One way of getting nearer the problem was working with isotope-labelled water (H218O), thus revealing if the oxygen formed really did come from water. A few years ago, therefore, Professor Fleischer contacted researchers at the Division of Nuclear Chemistry at Chalmers University, where the right equipment could be found, and later also with a specialist at the energy company Vattenfall. The research group was able to show that the oxygen formed came from water in the soil, and that the water was oxidised biologically.
An international assessment of the scientific research, carried out at Halmstad University in 2013, called the results “potentially ground-breaking”.
Professor Fleischer conducted the five-year project in collaboration with Lovisa Bauhn and Arvid Ödegaard-Jensen of the Division of Nuclear Chemistry at Chalmers University, and Patrik Fors at Vattenfall.
For more information, contact Professor Siegfried Fleischer, tel. 070-655 13 63, 035-16 77 66; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pressofficer Lena Lundén, +46-73 241 74 43, email@example.com
http://www.tellusb.net/index.php/tellusb/article/view/20490 Link to the report “Dark Oxidation of Water in Soils”
Lena Lundén | idw
Protecting fisheries from evolutionary change
27.04.2016 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
From waste to resource – how can we turn garbage into gold?
27.04.2016 | DLR Projektträger
Using an ultra fast-scanning atomic force microscope, a team of researchers from the University of Basel has filmed “living” nuclear pore complexes at work for the first time. Nuclear pores are molecular machines that control the traffic entering or exiting the cell nucleus. In their article published in Nature Nanotechnology, the researchers explain how the passage of unwanted molecules is prevented by rapidly moving molecular “tentacles” inside the pore.
Using high-speed AFM, Roderick Lim, Argovia Professor at the Biozentrum and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute of the University of Basel, has not only directly...
If a person pushes a broken-down car alone, there is a certain effect. If another person helps, the result is the sum of their efforts. If two micro-particles are pushing another microparticle, however, the resulting effect may not necessarily be the sum their efforts. A recent study published in Nature Communications, measured this odd effect that scientists call “many body.”
In the microscopic world, where the modern miniaturized machines at the new frontiers of technology operate, as long as we are in the presence of two...
Researchers from the Max Planck Institute Stuttgart have developed self-propelled tiny ‘microbots’ that can remove lead or organic pollution from contaminated water.
Working with colleagues in Barcelona and Singapore, Samuel Sánchez’s group used graphene oxide to make their microscale motors, which are able to adsorb lead...
Neutron scattering and computational modeling have revealed unique and unexpected behavior of water molecules under extreme confinement that is unmatched by any known gas, liquid or solid states.
In a paper published in Physical Review Letters, researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory describe a new tunneling state of...
Honeycomb structures as the basic building block for industrial applications presented using holo pyramid
Researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) will introduce their latest developments in the field of bionic lightweight design at Hannover Messe from 25...
27.04.2016 | Event News
15.04.2016 | Event News
12.04.2016 | Event News
04.05.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
04.05.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
04.05.2016 | Materials Sciences