Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

Siberian hot springs reveal ancient ecology

April 27, 2011
Exotic bacteria that do not rely on oxygen may have played an important role in determining the composition of Earth's early atmosphere, according to a theory that UChicago researcher Albert Colman is testing in the scalding hot springs of a volcanic crater in Siberia.

He has found that bacteria at the site produce as well as consume carbon monoxide, a surprising twist that scientists must take into account as they attempt to reconstruct the evolution of Earth's early atmosphere.

Colman, an assistant professor in geophysical sciences, joined an American-Russian team in 2005 working in the Uzon Caldera of eastern Siberia's Kamchatka Peninsula to study the microbiology and geochemistry of the region's hot springs. Colman and his colleagues focused on anaerobic carboxydotrophs - microbes with a physiology as exotic as their name. They use carbon monoxide mostly for energy, but also as a source of carbon for the production of new cellular material.

This carbon monoxide-based physiology results in the microbial production of hydrogen, a component of certain alternative fuels. The research team thus also sought to probe biotechnological applications for cleaning carbon monoxide from certain industrial waste gases and for biohydrogen production.

"We targeted geothermal fields," Colman says, "believing that such environments would prove to be prime habitat for carboxydotrophs due to the venting of chemically reduced, or in other words, oxygen-free and methane-, hydrogen-, and carbon dioxide-rich volcanic gases in the springs."

The team did discover a wide range of carboxydotrophs. Paradoxically, Colman found that much of the carbon monoxide at the Kamchatka site was not bubbling up with the volcanic gases; instead "it was being produced by the microbial community in these springs," he says. His team began considering the implications of a strong microbial source of carbon monoxide, both in the local springs but also for the early Earth.
The Great Oxidation Event

Earth's early atmosphere contained hardly any oxygen but relatively large amounts of carbon dioxide and possibly methane, experts believe. Then during the so-called Great Oxidation Event about 2.3 to 2.5 billion years ago, oxygen levels in the atmosphere rose from vanishingly small amounts to modestly low concentrations.

"This important transition enabled a widespread diversification and proliferation of metabolic strategies and paved the way for a much later climb in oxygen to levels that were high enough to support animal life," Colman says.

The processing of carbon monoxide by the microbial community could have influenced atmospheric chemistry and climate during the Archean, an interval of Earth's history that preceded the Great Oxidation Event.

Previous computer simulations rely on a primitive biosphere as the sole means of removing near-surface carbon monoxide produced when the sun's ultraviolet rays split carbon dioxide molecules. This theoretical sink in the biosphere would have prevented substantial accumulation of atmospheric carbon monoxide.

"But our work is showing that you can't consider microbial communities as a one-way sink for carbon monoxide," Colman says. The communities both produce and consume carbon monoxide. "It's a dynamic cycle."

Colman's calculations suggest that carbon monoxide may have nearly reached percentage concentrations of 1 percent in the atmosphere, tens of thousands of times higher than current concentrations. This in turn would have exerted influence on concentration of atmospheric methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, with consequences for global temperatures.
Toxic Concentrations

Furthermore, such high carbon monoxide concentrations would have been toxic for many microorganisms, placing evolutionary pressure on the early biosphere.

"A much larger fraction of the microbial community would've been exposed to higher carbon monoxide concentrations and would've had to develop strategies for coping with the high concentrations because of their toxicity," Colman says.

Colman and UChicago graduate student Bo He have conducted fieldwork in both Uzon and California's Lassen Volcanic National Park. Colman has most recently journeyed to Kamchatka for additional fieldwork in 2007 and 2010.

"This fantastic field site has a wide variety of hot springs," he says. "Different colors, temperatures, chemistries, different types of micro-organisms living in them. It's a lot like Yellowstone in certain respects." Lassen's springs have a narrower range of acidic chemistries, yet microbial production of carbon monoxide appears to be widespread in both settings.

Collaborator Frank Robb of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, lauds Colman for his "boundless enthusiasm" and for his "meticulous preparation," much-needed qualities to ensure the safe transport of delicate instruments into the field.

Some of the microbial life within the caldera's complex hydrothermal system may survive in even more extreme settings than scientists have observed at the surface, Colman says. "One thing we really don't know very well is the extent to which microbial communities beneath the surface influence what we see at the surface, but that's possible as well," Colman says. "We know from culturing deep-sea vent microbes that they can live at temperatures that exceed the temperatures we're observing right at the surface, and some of the turn out to metabolize carbon monoxide."

The National Science Foundation and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Astrobiology Institute have funded Colman's Kamchatka research. The work offers insights into astrobiology, the study of the potential for life on other worlds, by showing how organisms might thrive in extreme environments beyond Earth, including the subsurface of Mars, Jupiter's moon Europa, or even planets orbiting other stars.

The University of Chicago


Related Carbon Monoxide Current Events and Carbon Monoxide News Articles


ORNL study pegs fuel economy costs of common practices
People who pack their cars and drive like Clark Griswold in National Lampoon's "Vacation" pay a steep penalty when it comes to fuel economy, according to a report by the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Snowstorms and power outages present elevated risk for carbon monoxide poisoning
While preventable, carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious and sometimes fatal condition. Large weather events, such as snowstorms and heavy storms that cause power outages, can lead to an increase in the number of reported carbon monoxide exposures.

Crashing Comets Explain Surprise Gas Clump Around Young Star
Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope in northern Chile have today announced the discovery of an unexpected clump of carbon monoxide gas in the dusty disc around the star Beta Pictoris.

ALMA sees icy wreckage in nearby solar system
Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope have discovered the splattered remains of comets colliding together around a nearby star; the researchers believe they are witnessing the total destruction of one of these icy bodies once every five minutes.

Galactic gas caused by colliding comets suggests mystery 'shepherd' exoplanet
Astronomers exploring the disk of debris around the young star Beta Pictoris have discovered a compact cloud of carbon monoxide located about 8 billion miles (13 billion kilometers) from the star.

Nearby Star's Icy Debris Suggests 'Shepherd' Planet
An international team of astronomers exploring the disk of gas and dust around a nearby star have uncovered a compact cloud of poisonous gas formed by ongoing rapid-fire collisions among a swarm of icy, comet-like bodies.

Researchers discover how soils control atmospheric hydrogen
Researchers at New Zealand's University of Otago are helping to clear up an enduring mystery regarding the composition of the Earth's atmosphere.

Detection of Water Vapor in the Atmosphere of a Hot Jupiter
Although liquid water covers a majority of Earth's surface, scientists are still searching for planets outside of our solar system that contain water.

Newly discovered catalyst could lead to the low-cost production of clean methanol
An international research team has discovered a potentially clean, low-cost way to convert carbon dioxide into methanol, a key ingredient in the production of plastics, adhesives and solvents, and a promising fuel for transportation.

Herbal cannabis not recommended for rheumatology patients
Patients with rheumatic conditions are in need of symptom relief and some are turning to herbal cannabis as a treatment option. However, the effectiveness and safety of medical marijuana to treat symptoms of rheumatic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or fibromyalgia is not supported by medical evidence.
More Carbon Monoxide Current Events and Carbon Monoxide News Articles

Carbon Monoxide: A Clear and Present Danger

Carbon Monoxide: A Clear and Present Danger
by Dwyer (Author), Leatherman (Author), Manclark (Author), Kimball (Author), Rasmussen (Author)


Carbon Monoxide a Clear and Present Danger is the collaborative effort of several of the brightest in the field of carbon monoxide detection, combustion analysis, and remediation. This book is intended to address carbon monoxide issues encountered by; First Responders (Fire Department EMT personnel and other Paramedics) Inspectors (local government and independent home inspectors) Technicians (HVAC, Plumbers, and utility company workers) Carbon Monoxide a Clear and Present Danger is divided into three distinctive sections: Section 1—Carbon Monoxide (CO) Explains; what CO is, how CO is produced, health effects of CO exposure, how to respond an alarm, basic testing procedures, code compliance and exposure standards. Section 2—Combustion: An in depth explanation combustion...

Carbon Monoxide Fact Book and Indoor Evaluation Checklist (Indoor Air Pollutants in the Home and Office)

Carbon Monoxide Fact Book and Indoor Evaluation Checklist (Indoor Air Pollutants in the Home and Office)
by W. E. Kuriger Associates


The Carbon Monoxide Fact Book describes where carbon monoxide (CO) comes from, the sources of CO, the chemistry and physiology of CO, the symptoms of CO poisoning, first aid for exposure to CO, and safety standards for exposure. Also included is the "Indoor Evaluation Checklist", which helps you avoid and solve potential CO problems in the home, office or any other enclosed space. This is a fact-filled, informative guide designed to help you prevent, identify and correct CO problems indoors. It could help you save a life!

Carbon Monoxide Not Only A Killer

Carbon Monoxide Not Only A Killer


Carbon monoxide (CO) is invisible, undetectable by human senses, we cannot smell it or taste it. Tiny amounts off this gas in the air can kill us or it can inflict permanent damage to health.
This deadly gas is encountered by most of us regularly, it is frequently in our homes and cars.

It is widely called the silent killer but the deaths are small in number in comparison to the great number of survivors who are poisoned by CO gas each year and the injuries can be irreversible.

This book is written for the lay person with no knowledge of CO but it is more detailed than many of the general, brief leaflets or web-pages on the subject. By being better informed about CO we can all be better equipped to identify risks in our lives and protect ourselves, our...

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
by David G. Penney (Editor)


While an ever-present and familiar toxin, carbon monoxide (CO) remains the number one poison in our environment.  This silent killer is responsible for over 2,000 deaths a year in the United States alone. The public and healthcare communities need quality information about the many risks presented by carbon monoxide exposure.  Edited by a leading expert in the field, Carbon Monoxide Poisoning delineates the successful means to prevent, identify, and manage the effects of CO poisoning. This volume explores new information on CO toxicity, including rehabilitation, the dissemination of information to the public, litigation involving CO poisoning, economic loss assessment, and firefighting. A series of chapters detail the risk of CO poisoning from kitchen ranges, recreational vehicles, and...

Carbon Monoxide Toxicity

Carbon Monoxide Toxicity
by David G. Penney (Editor)


Public interest in the health impacts of carbon monoxide (CO) has been increasing rapidly during the past decade. And rightly so: it is the most ubiquitous environmental poison. Car exhaust fumes, furnaces, gas-powered engines, home water heaters, smoke from all types of fire, and tobacco smoke all contribute to carbon monoxide intoxication - the leading cause of poisoning death in the United States. Even when it doesn't cause death, it often produces lasting, deleterious effects on the central nervous system.

From one of the world's top CO experts, Carbon Monoxide Toxicity examines the latest basic science and clinical research from around the world. It addresses the gamut of health-related CO issues, from the history of CO studies to the hidden threat of chronic low-level...

Carbon Monoxide and Cardiovascular Functions

Carbon Monoxide and Cardiovascular Functions
by Rui Wang (Editor)


Akin to nitric oxide, carbon monoxide (CO) was initially viewed as a pure toxic gas, yet it has been recently demonstrated to be an important endogenous molecule of gas that has profound physiological and pathophysiological effects on the cardiovascular system. In spite of the growing understanding achieved in this field, until now a comprehensive book summarizing the extraordinary advances in the research of the cardiovascular effects of CO has not been available.

Carbon Monoxide and Cardiovascular Functions responds to the vexing challenges and exciting opportunities that confront researchers and clinicians studying the biological roles of CO in the cardiovascular system. This book presents many never-before-published results including the first case of human CO deficiency. It...

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide
by David G. Penney (Editor)


Carbon Monoxide addresses many aspects of current issues involving carbon monoxide (CO) measurement, physiology, toxicology, behavior, and treatment. Topics discussed include:

Carbon Monoxide in Organic Synthesis (Organische Chemie in Einzeldarstellungen)

Carbon Monoxide in Organic Synthesis (Organische Chemie in Einzeldarstellungen)
by Jürgen Falbe (Author), Ch.R. Adams (Translator)




The Reduction of Copper Oxide By Carbon Monoxide and the Catalytic Oxidation of Carbon Monoxide in Presence of Copper and of Copper Oxide (Classic Reprint)

The Reduction of Copper Oxide By Carbon Monoxide and the Catalytic Oxidation of Carbon Monoxide in Presence of Copper and of Copper Oxide (Classic Reprint)
by Howard Algernon Jones (Author)


The Reduction of Copper Oxide by Carbon Monoxide and the Catalytic Oxidation of Carbon Monoxide in Presence of Copper and of Copper Oxide HOWARD ALGERNON JONES 11 .
(Typographical errors above are due to OCR software and don't occur in the book.)

About the Publisher

Forgotten Books is a publisher of historical writings, such as: Philosophy, Classics, Science, Religion, History, Folklore and Mythology.

Forgotten Books' Classic Reprint Series utilizes the latest technology to regenerate facsimiles of historically important writings. Careful attention has been made to accurately preserve the original format of each page whilst digitally enhancing the aged text. Read books online for free at www.forgottenbooks.org

Stop Global warming-Enjoy cheaper cooking Gas&Reduce Carbon monoxide Emissions

Stop Global warming-Enjoy cheaper cooking Gas&Reduce Carbon monoxide Emissions


The Intention of the Author is controlling Global warming by means of Individual awareness and means to control the CO emissions and control the ozone layer tamper to a extent as humanly as possible.
The Intervention of Human thoughts from the oil ditch to high pitch thereby reducing the warming process , that every Individual can control from their utilities.
Cheaper availability of NO carbon oriented gases for cooking and vehicle usage is the point we stress here with this BOOK.

© 2014 BrightSurf.com