Deep Sea Bacteria Might Come Useful in Greenhouse Gas Neutralization

October 29, 2015 / No Comments

Mankind’s effort to curb green house emissions may never meet an end. But deep down in the sea, some tiny bacterial species seem to have taken up the task of green house neutralization.

oceanbacteria e1446102823473 Deep Sea Bacteria Might Come Useful in Greenhouse Gas Neutralization

A group of researchers from University of Florida has now found out that Thiomicrospira crunogena, a bacterium found deep under the oceans can now prove useful in bringing down the greenhouse percentage, specifically of carbon dioxide, in the earth’s atmosphere.

So how do they prove to be saviors? Researchers suggest that conversion of carbon dioxide, mostly which occurs from the fossil fuel combustion, requires a heat-tolerant enzyme, which is what researchers have now found being liberated from the deep-sea bacteria.

The species of Thiomicrospira crunogena have been found to release carbonic anhydrase, the exact enzyme that helps to convert carbon dioxide into harmless gas. The question here has been with its thermal-tolerance, which is also explained by the fact that these micro-organisms live near hydrothermal vents, naturally letting them build tolerance to high temperatures.

The letting in of these bacteria in a reaction involving carbon dioxide and water could catalyze the process of sequestration, or the breaking down of carbon dioxide into bicarbonate.

The theoretical assumption has also led the researchers to work their way out with a process that would see effective utilization of the enzyme action. One such process is by immobilizing the enzyme in a reactor vessel through which flue gases, the one containing carbon dioxide, will be passed through.

Besides they have also come up with a possible suggestion to deal with the mess of digging out the bacteria from deep sea floors. Common E. coli bacteria can be genetically engineered to produce the carbonic anhydrase released by the deep-sea bacterium, say the brains behind this study.

The entire summary of the study, led by Robert McKenna from UF College of Medicine was published in the journal Acta Crystallographica D: Biological Crystallography.