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 Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

nachricht How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>