How coastal mud holds the key to climate cooling gas | 2/26/2018 | Staff
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Bacteria found in muddy marshes, estuaries and coastal sediment synthesise one of the Earth's most abundant climate cooling gases—according to new research from the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) is an important nutrient in marine environments with billions of tonnes produced annually by marine phytoplankton (microscopic plant-like cells), seaweed, corals and bacteria.

Marine - DMSP - Climate-cooling - Gas - Dimethylsulfide

When marine microorganisms break down DMSP, they release a climate-cooling gas called dimethylsulfide (DMS), which also gives the seaside its characteristic smell. Until recently, it was thought that DMSP was mainly produced in the ocean's surface waters by photosynthetic algae.

But new research published today in Nature Microbiology reveals that it the molecule is produced in coastal sediment—and at much higher levels than in seawater.

Researcher - Professor - Jonathan - Todd - UEA

Lead researcher Professor Jonathan Todd, from UEA's School of Biological Sciences, said: "DMS is produced when microorganisms break down DMSP, and it is important because it affects atmospheric chemistry, cloud formation and potentially climate—by increasing cloud droplets that in turn reduce the amount of sunlight reaching the ocean's surface.

"Across the world's oceans, seas and coasts, tens of millions of tonnes of DMS are released annually by microbes that live in these environments.

Clouds - Movement - Amounts - Sulfur - Oceans

"These same clouds are vital in the movement of large amounts of sulfur from the oceans to land, making the production of DMSP and DMS a...
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