Monday, August 31, 2020

431 - Conductive Cables Control Carbon

Cable bacteria around
plant roots
From Scholz et al. 2020
Nat Commun 11:1878

This episode: Cable bacteria around rice roots transport electrons and help prevent formation of methane!

Thanks to Vincent Scholz for his contribution!  
Download Episode (5.7 MB, 8.3 minutes)

Show notes:
Microbe of the episode: Vibrio alginolyticus

News item

Transforming other things into methane is a great way to make a living for some kinds of microbes. These tend to live under still water, like in rice fields or wetlands, or in the guts of cattle. And while this methane could be useful as natural gas if collected, it's a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide when released into the atmosphere.

In this study, cable bacteria were inoculated into rice pots in the lab. Cable bacteria transfer electrons from deeper down in the ground up to the surface to generate energy, and in the process generate sulfate. This sulfate allows other microbes to outcompete the methane producers, reducing the amount of methane produced from rice cultivation in the lab. This may be helpful to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from rice agriculture.

Journal Paper:
Scholz VV, Meckenstock RU, Nielsen LP, Risgaard-Petersen N. 2020. Cable bacteria reduce methane emissions from rice-vegetated soils. 1. Nat Commun 11:1878.

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