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View Diary: "Vast methane plumes escaping from the seafloor" discovered in Siberian Arctic Sea (226 comments)

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  •  Eating methane (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreyHawk, WarrenS, whaddaya

    What microorganisms, if any, eat methane? Can we seed the Laptev sea with these?

    •  There Are A Number Of Methanotrophic Bacteria (12+ / 0-)

      Both aerobic and anaerobic.  Methane is is a good food source because it is reduced, which is to say it can be oxidized to yield energy. Heck the stuff burns, right?  So of course there are bugs that will tap that energy using enzymes by turning CH4 into formaldehyde COH2

      Somebody needs to be looking at getting that enzyme into plants, and maybe we can plant corn fields that will absorb methane out of the air.  If we can reduce methane to below the background levels we might even be able to slow global warming.

      In plants, the chemistry would be methane to formaldehyde and then to formate via plant formaldehyde dehydrogenase, and the formate is probably going to dump into a couple different pathways.  

      Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

      by bernardpliers on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 09:24:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There seems to be evidence that methane (5+ / 0-)

        In the ocean is being eaten by bacteria.  Apparently this is something the earth has been doing off and on due to natural changes.  And the response has also been seen happening due to the human-initiated accidental oil spill in the gulf.

        National Geographic Methane News

        Still trying to figure it all out

        by CindyV on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 10:41:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Lots Of Methanotrophs In The Ocean (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          WarrenS, sillia, qofdisks, ypochris

          I just don't know if they are in the water column.

          But the bacteria that make the methane in anaerobic conditions  in the sediment reduce carbon by adding hydrogen until it creates methane CH4.  Even without looking we'd know there would be aerobic bacteria on top of them oxidizing the methane by adding oxygen.

          Could they pull methane out of the atmosphere?  Well they did not prevent the doubling of methane from land over the last century.  So maybe they are down in the mud at the bottom of the ocean.

          Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

          by bernardpliers on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 10:51:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I've read... (0+ / 0-)

          ...that this artic methane is too shallow for most to be captured by bacteria.  It would require a water column many times the one this research is testing, and perhaps the methane would need to be less dense.  Bubbles are a huge issue, eh.

          Buy Monkey Milk for your next Tea Party!

          by just us on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 12:42:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Plants? Very few liveforms can eat formaldehyde. (0+ / 0-)

        We certainly can't eat it.

        •  We'd Be Knee Deep In It If Nothing Ate It (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Anne Elk, deha

          A general rule of thumb is that something eats anything, otherwise we'd have all drowned in organic debris millions of years ago.

          A lot of these pathways to use the simplest carbon and hydrogen compounds are in plants and bacteria, and unless a compound has something exotic like a chlorine atom, something will eat it.

          This is why plants are able to make all those essential amino acids.  And the main pathway for the use formaldehyde is the conversion of glycine to serine.  

          Plants have their own version of this enzyme, but maybe the bacterial exzyme would work better.

          You can see a diagram of the plant C1 pathway here

          with formaldehyde in the upper right hand corner.

          Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

          by bernardpliers on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 01:46:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, Formaldehyde! (0+ / 0-)

          I recall getting some cheap drugs that were made in China, back when I was adventurous, that smelled of formaldehyde. So I guess it's edible in small quantities.

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