A groundbreaking new study finds that a bacteria living far below the surface of the waters cold be a key to reversing climate change
A stunning new finding out of the University of Florida has revealed the existence of bacteria deep down on the ocean floor that could have a huge impact on climate change.
Carbon dioxide is the greenhouse gas that is most responsible for global warming, and it is emitted largely by human activity, meaning that figuring out a way to eliminate these vast quantities of carbon dioxide is key to fighting climate change. Now, a research team has found a bacteria called Thiomicrospira crunogena that gobbles up carbon dioxide by producing an enzyme that converts it into a compound that is totally benign, and can even strip carbon dioxide from organisms, according to a Christian Science Monitor report.
The bacteria is found deep down in the ocean, living near hydrothermal vents in temperatures too extreme for most creatures to survive.
Robert McKenna, who is a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the UF College of Medicine, said according to the report: “This little critter has evolved to deal with those extreme temperature and pressure problems. It has already adapted to some of the conditions it would face in an industrial setting.”
There’s just one problem: in order for this process to be feasible, a lot of carbonic anhydrase will be needed — the good news is that McKenna’s team has found a way to get this enzyme without diving deep down to the ocean floor to collect this bacteria.
And we can thank the deadly E. coli bacteria for that. By genetically engineering E. coli scientists can produce the enzyme in a lab setting, although so far they have been able to produce only very small quantities. Considering the massive problem we have on our hands when it comes to global warming and just how much carbon dioxide is out there that needs to be absorbed, we’re going to need a lot more than a few milligrams at a time.
Also, the enzyme can’t be produced all that quickly, and that presents another obstacle for researchers.
A news release on the finding was published on the University of Florida’s website, which can be found here.