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These Bacteria Steal from Iron and Could Be Secretly Helping to Curb Climate Change

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September 28th 2021
00:02:56
Description
Photoferrotrophs have been around for billions of years on Earth, and new research suggests that they have played an outsize roll in the natural capture of carbon dioxide.

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You decided to upgrade your outdoor deck. So you ordered the essentials, a power washer, a set of patio chairs and a shiny new grill. And you use your bank of America customized cash rewards credit card choosing to earn 3% cash back on online shopping and up to 5.25% as a preferred rewards member. Which you put towards your most essential death edition. A bird feeder apply for yours at Bank of America dot com slash more rewarding. Copyright 2021 Bank of America Corporation. Yeah. Mhm. This is scientific American 62nd Science. I'm Shayla Far San. Mhm. Mhm. A couple billion years ago. About three billion to be a little more precise, the earth was a very different place. It had vast oceans and almost no oxygen in the atmosphere. It was a place where bacteria ruled. Some of these bacteria used photosynthesis to power themselves kind of like plants. But they did it in a strange way by harnessing light and stealing electrons from iron fast forward about two billion years.

And those bacteria still exist today. They're called photo ferry troughs. And for decades scientists thought they were pretty rare. Most people think that all these exotic organisms that do other things and photo Federal trophy is just something that they might have retained from the past. Our pizza bows is a microbiologist at Washington University in ST louis In 2015 on a whim bows collected some vials of marine sediment from woods hole Massachusetts and brought them home to her lab in Missouri. Her students slowly parsed out the individual strains of bacteria and they started testing them one by one, trying to figure out if any of them still had that ancient metabolism bo's still remembers the day two of her students came into her office with the results. They were like, they all do it. They all do photo ferry trophy. And I was like, what? No way! No way! I was kind of shocked. All 15 bacterial strains were photo Farah troves.

Maybe they started thinking this trait wasn't that rare. After all, the study appears in the Multidisciplinary Journal of Microbial ecology. A big reason why they care beyond just basic scientific curiosity is the fact that these microbes are vacuuming up carbon dioxide as they photosynthesize. If this is truly as common as our data suggests they are, it's possible that these organisms do make a massive contribution to carbon dioxide fixation as well. And that means preserving the wetlands and estuaries where these bacteria thrive could be an important component of combating climate change. Right now, those habitats are rapidly disappearing, says Michael Guzman, a microbiologist at Lawrence livermore National Laboratory and one of the study co authors. These environments are a hotbed for biological diversity. And so there's a lot of things happening in these environments that, you know, we still don't know about. So I think preserving these natural microbial communities.

It's really important for scientific Americans. Science. I'm Shayla Farzana mm

These Bacteria Steal from Iron and Could Be Secretly Helping to Curb Climate Change
These Bacteria Steal from Iron and Could Be Secretly Helping to Curb Climate Change
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