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: email@example.com.
Pressofficer Lena Lundén, +46-73 241 74 43, firstname.lastname@example.org
http://www.tellusb.net/index.php/tellusb/article/view/20490 Link to the report “Dark Oxidation of Water in Soils”
Lena Lundén | idw
Savannahs help to slow climate change
22.05.2015 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie
Surviving Harsh Environments Becomes a Death-Trap for Specialist Corals
21.05.2015 | University of Southampton
Physicists have developed an innovative method that could enable the efficient use of nanocomponents in electronic circuits. To achieve this, they have developed a layout in which a nanocomponent is connected to two electrical conductors, which uncouple the electrical signal in a highly efficient manner. The scientists at the Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel have published their results in the scientific journal “Nature Communications” together with their colleagues from ETH Zurich.
Electronic components are becoming smaller and smaller. Components measuring just a few nanometers – the size of around ten atoms – are already being produced...
Development and implementation of an advanced automobile parking navigation platform for parking services
To fulfill the requirements of the industry, PolyU researchers developed the Advanced Automobile Parking Navigation Platform, which includes smart devices,...
The world's first electrical car and passenger ferry powered by batteries has entered service in Norway. The ferry only uses 150 kWh per route, which...
On Tuesday, 19 May 2015 the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its home port in Bremerhaven, setting a course for the Arctic. Led by Dr Ilka Peeken from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) a team of 53 researchers from 11 countries will investigate the effects of climate change in the Arctic, from the surface ice floes down to the seafloor.
RV Polarstern will enter the sea-ice zone north of Spitsbergen. Covering two shallow regions on their way to deeper waters, the scientists on board will focus...
Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego developed a gel filled with toxin-absorbing nanosponges that could lead to an effective treatment for skin and wound infections caused by MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), an antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This "nanosponge-hydrogel" minimized the growth of skin lesions on mice infected with MRSA - without the use of antibiotics. The researchers recently published their findings online in Advanced Materials.
To make the nanosponge-hydrogel, the team mixed nanosponges, which are nanoparticles that absorb dangerous toxins produced by MRSA, E. coli and other...
20.05.2015 | Event News
18.05.2015 | Event News
12.05.2015 | Event News
22.05.2015 | Materials Sciences
22.05.2015 | Information Technology
22.05.2015 | Materials Sciences