There’s a way to decrease the amount of methane on our planet! For the first time ever, researchers have discovered a unique bacteria that can eat methane. The study, published in Nature Communications, found microbial, methane-eating communities thriving within the bark of a paperbark (Melaleuca quinquenervia), a common Australian tree species. The Conservation has more details:
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We discovered the bark of paperbark trees provide a unique home for methane-oxidizing bacteria — bacteria that “consumes” methane and turns it into carbon dioxide, a far less potent greenhouse gas.
Remarkably, these bacteria made up to 25% of total microbial communities living in the bark, and were consuming around 36% of the tree’s methane. It appears these microbes make an easy living in the dark, moist and methane-rich environments.
This discovery will revolutionise the way in which we view methane emitting trees and the novel microbes living within them.
Only through understanding why, how, which, when and where trees emit the most methane, may we more effectively plant forests that effectively draw down carbon dioxide while avoiding unwanted methane emissions.
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