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article imageBacteria can combat gas leaks

By Tim Sandle     May 2, 2014 in Science
Norwich - Bacteria can combat dangerous gas leaks, according to a new study. Scientists suggest that bacteria could mop up naturally-occurring and human-made leaks of natural gases before they are released into the atmosphere.
The basis of the new study is that a single bacterial strain (Methylocella silvestris) found in soil and other environments around the world can grow on both the methane and propane found in natural gas. The bacterium found in peat, tundra, and forest soils in Northern Europe. This type of bacterium has also been found among the microbial community following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.
Platform supply vessels battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon.
Platform supply vessels battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon.
US Coast Guard
This means that, theoretically, one type of bacteria could mop up the components of natural gas very efficiently and reduce pollution. The findings could also be used to inform land use management decisions where high levels of methane and propane are released.
The study was carried out at the University of East Anglia (U.K.). The research was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Norwich Research Park Earth and Life Systems Alliance. The findings have been published in the science journal Nature, in a paper titled “Trace-gas metabolic versatility of the facultative methanotroph Methylocella silvestris”.
More about Bacteria, Gas, Gas leak, Greenhouse Gas, Global warming
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