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American scientists find diversity of new greenhouse gas-eating microbes – Xinhua



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WASHINGTON, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) – American scientists discovered new types of microbes that could consume greenhouse gases like methane and butane, and may one day be used to clean up oil spills.

The study published on Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications revealed new microbial species with keen pollutant-eating powers in the extremely hot, deep-sea sediments located in the Guaymas Basin in the Gulf of California.

"This shows the deep ocean contains expansive unexplored biodiversity, and microscopic organisms there are capable of degrading oil and other harmful chemicals," said the paper's primary investigator Brett Baker, assistant professor of marine science at the University of Texas at Austin.

"Beneath the ocean floor, huge reservoirs or hydrocarbon gases including methane, propane, butane exist now, and these microbes prevent greenhouse gases from being released into the atmosphere," said Baker.

Een analyse van sediment van 2000 meter onder het oppervlak met ongeveer 200 graden Celsius gaf rise tot 551 genomes, 22 of die vertegenwoordigd nieuwe inzendingen in de boom van leven, sommige even vertegenwoordigen nieuwe phyla.

"We think that this is probably just the tip of the iceberg in terms of diversity in the Guaymas Basin," Baker said.

"We are doing a lot more DNA sequencing to try to get a handle on how much more there is." This paper is really just our first hint at what these things are and what they are doing, "said Baker.

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