Researchers at Cornell University have discovered a new type of soil bacteria that is good at breaking down organic matter, including carcinogenic chemicals that are released when coal, gas, oil and waste are burned. The results are published in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology.
Climate change has been recognized for several years as one of the most important problems of humanity, which can lead to the death of animals and people. Scientists around the world have long been looking for ways to slow down or reverse this process.
In a new work, biologists at Cornell University have discovered a new species of bacteria that belongs to the genus Paraburkholderia, which are known for their ability to decompose aromatic compounds. Some species can also form root nodules in plants that fix atmospheric nitrogen. The new species was named Paraburkholderia madseniana.
The first step in the new study was the sequencing of the bacteria's ribosomal RNA genes, which provided genetic evidence that Paraburkholderia madseniana was a unique species. When studying the new bacteria, the researchers noticed that they were particularly good at breaking down aromatic hydrocarbons, which are part of lignin, the main component of plant biomass and soil organic matter.
This means that the microorganisms found by scientists can be candidates for research in the field of biodegradation and play an important role in the carbon cycle in soil. The researchers now want to know more about the symbiotic relationship between bacteria and forest trees. Initial research shows that trees supply carbon to bacteria, which in turn degrades soil organic matter, thereby releasing nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus for trees.
Understanding how bacteria break down carbon in soil can be key to ensuring soil resilience and being able to predict and combat future climate change on Earth.