Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Strange diet for methane consuming microorganisms

06.11.2012
Methane supplies the energy but is not the carbon source

Methane is formed under the absence of oxygen by natural biological and physical processes, e.g. in the sea floor. It is a much powerful green house gas than carbon dioxide.


Where the samples were taken: The Guaymas Basin on the West coast of Mexico.

Rita Dunker, MPI BRemen

Thanks to the activity of microorganisms this gas is inactivated, before it reaches the atmosphere and unfolds its harmful effects on Earth´s climate. Researchers from Bremen have proven that these microorganisms are quite picky about their diet. Now they have published their results in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Carbon can be the basic structural element...

All life on Earth is based on carbon and its compounds. Cell components of all creatures contain carbon. The cell can take up this basic structural element via organic matter, or the cell build up its own organic matter from scratch, i.e. carbon dioxide. Researchers termed the first cells heterotrophs and the latter autotrophs. All plants, many bacteria and archaea are autotrophs, whereas all animals, including humans, are heterotrophs. The autotrophs form the basis for the life of the heterotrophs and all higher life by taking up inorganic carbon to form organic material.

…and can be the energy source

To keep the cellular systems running all cells need fuel. Methane can be such a fuel. When studying the methane consuming microbes discovered by Bremen scientists more than ten years ago it was assumed that they take the methane for filling up their energy tanks and using it as a carbon source, i.e, they were thought to be heterotrophs.

Now scientists from MARUM and the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology show in their PNAS research paper that this is surprisingly not the case and the methane derived carbon is not used as a carbon source. “Our growth studies clearly show that the labeled carbon in the methane never showed up directly in the cell material, but experiments with labeled carbon from carbon dioxide did. It was quite surprising, ” said PNAS author Matthias Kellermann. The archaea in the consortia behave like it is expected for chemoautotrophs.
“Archaea and the sulfate reducing bacteria are living close together in consortia, which are growing extremely slow. And only in the newly synthesized cell material we could find the answer for the question, from where the carbon originates,” adds Kai-Uwe Hinrichs, leader of the organic geochemistry group at MARUM.

Co-author Gunter Wegener from the Max Planck Institute concludes: ”With our new knowledge we can optimize our studies about the inactivation of methane in nature. Our surprising results tell us that we still know little details of this globally important process.”

Samples were retrieved from the Guaymas Basin on the West coast of Mexico from a depth of more the 2000 meters using the US diving submersible Alvin .

Manfred Schlösser

Further informations/ photo material/Interviews:
Dr. Manfred Schloesser, +49 421 2028704, mschloes mpi-bremen.de
Dr. Rita Dunker, +49 421 2028856, rdunker mpi-bremen.de
Albert Gerdes, +49 421 21865540, agerdesmarum.de

Institutions

Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Bremen
MARUM – Center for Marine environmental Research at the University of Bremen

Original article
Autotrophy as a predominant mode of carbon fixation in anaerobic methane-oxidizing microbial communities
Matthias Y. Kellermann, Gunter Wegener, Marcus Elvert, Marcos Yukio Yoshinaga, Yu-Shih Lin,
Thomas Holler, Xavier Prieto Mollar, Katrin Knittel, and Kai-Uwe Hinrichs
PNAS doi/10.1073/pnas.1208795109

Dr. Manfred Schloesser | Max-Planck-Institut
Further information:
http://www.mpi-bremen.de/
http://www.marum.de/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Rapid adaptation to a changing environment
28.04.2016 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Tiny microscopes reveal hidden role of nervous system cells
28.04.2016 | Salk Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: ORNL researchers discover new state of water molecule

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...

Im Focus: Bionic Lightweight Design researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute at Hannover Messe 2016

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...

Im Focus: New world record for fullerene-free polymer solar cells

Polymer solar cells can be even cheaper and more reliable thanks to a breakthrough by scientists at Linköping University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). This work is about avoiding costly and unstable fullerenes.

Polymer solar cells can be even cheaper and more reliable thanks to a breakthrough by scientists at Linköping University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin glass is up and coming

As one of the leading R&D partners in the development of surface technologies and organic electronics, the Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP will be exhibiting its recent achievements in vacuum coating of ultra-thin glass at SVC TechCon 2016 (Booth 846), taking place in Indianapolis / USA from May 9 – 13.

Fraunhofer FEP is an experienced partner for technological developments, known for testing the limits of new materials and for optimization of those materials...

Im Focus: Measuring the heat capacity of condensed light

Liquid water is a very good heat storage medium – anyone with a Thermos bottle knows that. However, as soon as water boils or freezes, its storage capacity drops precipitously. Physicists at the University of Bonn have now observed very similar behavior in a gas of light particles. Their findings can be used, for example, to produce ultra-precise thermometers. The work appears in the prestigious technical journal "Nature Communications".

Water vapor becomes liquid under 100 degrees Celsius – it condenses. Physicists speak of a phase transition. In this process, certain thermodynamic...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

The “AC21 International Forum 2016” is About to Begin

27.04.2016 | Event News

Soft switching combines efficiency and improved electro-magnetic compatibility

15.04.2016 | Event News

Grid-Supportive Buildings Give Boost to Renewable Energy Integration

12.04.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Possible Extragalactic Source of High-Energy Neutrinos

28.04.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

University of Illinois researchers create 1-step graphene patterning method

28.04.2016 | Materials Sciences

Rapid adaptation to a changing environment

28.04.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>