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Frugal bacterium : air and greenhouse gas as a food

The bacterium Methylocapsa gorgona only needs air to live. An international team of researchers has now succeeded for the first time, to breed the organisms in the laboratory and to investigate in more detail in the "Proceedings" of the US Academy of Sciences ("PNAS"). Methylocapsa gorgona could use particularly harmful to the climate Gas methane for energy production. In addition, it also use nitrogen, oxygen, carbon monoxide and hydrogen, according to an announcement from the University of Vienna.

carbon and nitrogen

"We have now succeeded for the first time, a methane-removal to isolate bacteria that can actually live of air", Alexander Tveit of the University, quoted in the Norwegian Tromsø.

Despite its low concentration in the air, methane is a potent greenhouse gas, responsible for about 15 percent of global warming, - stated in the message. It is caused by a variety of degradation processes in low-oxygen soils and sediments, as well as in some industrial processes. Previously, bacteria were known, the methane in soils or sediments can degrade, where methane occurs in much higher concentrations than in the atmosphere.

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ferments, The bacteria came as a surprise to the researchers. "It is extremely versatile and can not only gain energy and carbon for building biomass from the methane in the air," but "also air, nitrogen fixing material," said Michael Wagner, head of the centre for Microbiology and environmental system science in Vienna. (dpa)

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