Microbe Found in a Volcanic Spring Could Help Fight Carbon Pollution

2 May 23

By now most of us are familiar with most of the ecological problems that humanity is facing. One of the biggest being elevated levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere, causing global warming. Of course, there are plenty of preventative measures set in place such as a shift to clean energy.

But many believe that gradually moving away from burning fossil fuels is not enough to fully avoid climate disasters in the future. That is why there is a lot of investment from governments and privateers around the globe into carbon dioxide capture technologies.

A noteworthy example of carbon dioxide capture technology is synthetic fuels, where CO2 is absorbed from the atmosphere during the production process.

But it is also important to look back at some of the natural CO2 capture processes that have been used by mother nature for millions of years. The best known one is photosynthesis, where plants and trees create oxygen from CO2 through cellular respiration.

But there has been a new discovery made near the Italian island of Vulcano. A microbe, named cyanobacterium, was discovered in a volcanic hot spring. The researchers found that this microbe turns CO2 into biomass at a rate much faster than ever observed before.

This fast-growing aquatic microbe is shown to sink in the water, which might prove to be useful in the fight against elevated CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

Another promising fact is that the bacteria is self-assembling and under the right circumstances could grow exponentially without active supervision.

Carbon capture through bacteria is an actively researched field currently the same team of scientists are exploring bacteria found in the hot springs of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, US.

The prospect of using nature’s own organisms to fight the global warming is an exciting prospect that does not seem to get enough spotlight at the moment. 

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