Source of Oceanic Mystery Methane Was Under Noses of Researchers All Along
2012-09-10 0:00

From: Geekosystem.com

Researchers have been seeing methane produced from the world’s oceans for years, but like methane produced in a crowded elevator, the source was a minor mystery that annoyed many in the field. But researchers from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign may have finally cracked the secret behind just who dealt the methane being released by the Earth’s oceans, and it appears the answer was looking right at them the whole time — probably being conspicously quiet or pretending to check its email or something. The source seems to be one of the most common microbes in the ocean, Nitrosopumilus maritimus.

Science has understood that methane is being emitted by the world’s oceans for years, but have been confused by why that’s the case. Methane can be produced by microbial organisms, but they usually do so in oxygen-free environments — not oxygen-rich ones like the ocean.

Nitrosopumilus maritimus is among the most abundant microbes on the planet, so it’s a surprise that it could be keeping a secret as big as being responsible for as much as 4% of the Earth’s total methane production. Even so, that looks to be exactly the case.



Nitrosopumilus maritimus is an extremely common archaeon living in seawater.

The researchers responsible for the discovery weren’t concerned with methane when they started. Instead, they were looking for antibiotics they thought could be produced by the microbe. Nitrosopumilus produces a molecule called HEP, which has a role in synthesizing chemicals known as phosphonates used in medicine. That lead to the realization that the microbe was also producing a substance called methylphosphonic acid, which other researchers had proposed could be a methane source in the oceans. No one had found it in oceanic environs, though, until now.

It appears that when Nitrosopumilus shuffles off the single cell that passes for its mortal coil, it leaves behind methylphosphonic acid. That acid is broken down by other organisms that are hungry for the phosphorous that is part of it. When it’s broken down, one of the by-products is — you guessed it — methane. Lots and lots of methane that no creature in the ocean wants to eat, and is thus released into the atmosphere.

It’s a weird chemistry lesson, researchers acknowledged, but one that solves a lasting mystery about climate change and how the Earth’s oceans may contribute to it.


Article from: geekosystem.com




Related Articles
Giant plumes of methane bubbling to surface of Arctic Ocean
Methane bubbles in Arctic seas - more questions, fewer answers (2010)
Has Methane Started Venting From Sea Floor? - Wayne Madsen, 2007


Latest News from our Front Page

Pegida's Multi - Culti (state) Agenda!
2016-02-08 4:49
This guy raises some very interesting points regarding the recent PEGIDA launch in the UK and around Europe. Make sure to check out the videos below. The focus on the criticism descends into a Nazi accusation contest. "No no THEY are the REAL Nazi's." Pegida UK is fronted by Tommy Robinson, Paul Weston and Anne Marie Waters. They held a demo in ...
Sweden plans to expel up to 80,000 asylum-seekers (that didn't seek asylum)
2016-02-08 3:58
Enrichment Sweden intends to expel up to 80,000 migrants who arrived in 2015 and whose application for asylum has been rejected, Interior Minister Anders Ygeman said Wednesday. Ed: Wait, so they are in the country despite being rejected asylum? How did that happen and who let them in then? "We are talking about 60,000 people but the number could climb to 80,000," the ...
What Happened to Roosh and Why Did the International Media Run With the "Pro-Rape" Allegation Lie?
2016-02-08 1:40
In the past few days there has been a slew of articles coming out of the garbage pile that is the mainstream media, detailing how "Roosh V" of Return of Kings, not only is a "Pro-rapist," but how he also was going to teach men how to rape, at their planned international meetups. Roosh did a press conference in Washington DC, ...
An Occupied Country
2016-02-06 5:42
When people refer to occupation governments or occupied countries, the first thought is often of military occupation—the garrisoning of foreign troops in one’s cities and civil administration by their military executives. The other vision is the trope of a cabal of Haredim sitting in a darkly-lit boardroom with a map of the world on the wall, a dated reading of ...
Immortal Symbols 1941
2016-02-06 2:07
Youtube description: Dutch film "Eeuwig Leevende Tekens" by Hamer - "Volksche Werkgemeenschap" (Folkish Study Group) - ancestral heritage, solar wheel, sun cross, tree of life, etc. Subs by Otharus - http://fryskednis.blogspot.com Source: youtube.com
More News »