Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. 24/7 Space News .




WATER WORLD
Newly discovered bacterial partnership changes ocean chemistry
by Robert Perkins for USC News
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Aug 14, 2013


Most of the samples collected for the study were found off the coast of Baja California.

In a discovery that further demonstrates just how unexpected and unusual nature can be, scientists have found two strains of bacteria whose symbiotic relationship is unlike anything seen before. Long, thin, hairlike Thioploca (meaning "sulfur braids" in Spanish) trichomes form chains down into marine sediment, which tiny anammox cells ride down like an elevator.

At the bottom, the anammox cells consume nitrite and ammonium, or "fixed" nitrogen, the waste products of the Thioploca. Nitrogen is a crucial building block of life, a prerequisite for photosynthesis.

While nitrogen is present in abundance in the Earth's atmosphere, to be useful for most living organisms, the nonreactive atmospheric nitrogen that diffuses into the ocean from the air must be converted into the biologically available "fixed" forms ammonium, nitrate and nitrite by specialized organisms called nitrogen fixers.

Other organisms use up this fixed nitrogen and convert it back to di-nitrogen gas. Living together in the mud beneath areas of high plant productivity, Thioploca and anammox intensify this part of the nitrogen cycle. Gliding down through the mud, Thioploca chains bring down nitrate - a highly desirable resource in the harsh environment of oxygen-free sediments.

As Thioploca encounters sulfide (which is a roadblock for most other bacteria) formed from the reaction of organic matter from above and sea water sulfate, it helps react nitrate with sulfide, producing nitrite and ammonium, which the anammox consumes and churns out di-nitrogen gas. The anammox cells ride on Thioploca, living off its waste, and so both microbes thrive where others perish.

Overall, however, they lock up an important resource for life in the ocean, making it unusable by the organisms at the base of the food chain that rely on photosynthesis to survive.

"The symbiotic relationship we discovered is an incredibly elegant chemical tandem between two chemolithotrophs - organisms which derive their metabolic energy purely from inorganic chemistry. We first predicted the symbiosis based on realization that Thioploca's waste [nitrite and ammonium] are 'bread and butter' for anammox," said Maria Prokopenko, lead author of a paper on the research that appeared in Nature earlier this month.

"The prediction was confirmed by our team, proving that the symbiotic pair builds a very efficient natural 'waste-treatment plant' - destroying substantial quantities of fixed nitrogen while linking sulfur and nitrogen cycles in oxygen-free sediments."

Prokopenko is currently a visiting scholar at Pomona College, but completed the research while she was a research assistant professor at USC, working with William Berelson, chair of the Earth Sciences Department at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

Prokopenko and Berelson collaborated with researchers from the University of California, Davis; the University of Southern Denmark; Pomona College; the University of Connecticut; Princeton University and the University of Cincinnati.

The symbiosis between Thioploca and anammox is not one creating widespread change throughout the ocean, but rather one that creates localized zones where fixed nitrogen is depleted faster than most expected. Most of the samples collected were found off the coast of Baja California.

"As important as nitrogen is to life on this planet, it is amazing that we can discover new pathways and chemical reactions and biological partnerships involving this compound," Berelson said.

Prokopenko, Berelson and others are presently studying nitrogen cycling in waters off Chile and Peru and are also investigating the history of nitrate preserved in ancient rocks. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation (grant number OCE-0727123).

.


Related Links
University of Southern California
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





WATER WORLD
Study finds novel worm community affecting methane release in ocean
Corvallis OR (SPX) Aug 14, 2013
Scientists have discovered a super-charged methane seep in the ocean off New Zealand that has created its own unique food web, resulting in much more methane escaping from the ocean floor into the water column. Most of that methane, a greenhouse gas 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide at warming our atmosphere, is likely consumed by biological activity in the water, the scientists say ... read more


WATER WORLD
NASA Selects Launch Services Contract for OSIRIS-REx Mission

Environmental Controls Move Beyond Earth

Bad night's sleep? The moon could be to blame

Moon Base and Beyond

WATER WORLD
Snapping Pictures of the Martian Moons

Mars Rover Opportunity Working at Edge of 'Solander'

MRO Swapping Motion-Sensing Units

Opportunity Reaches Base of 'Solander Point'

WATER WORLD
Next Generation of Explorers Takes the Stage

Has Voyager 1 Left The Solar System?

Groundbreaking space exploration research at UH

Test at Naval Station Proves Recovery Operations for Orion

WATER WORLD
China launches three experimental satellites

Medical quarantine over for Shenzhou-10 astronauts

China's astronauts ready for longer missions

Chinese probe reaches record height in space travel

WATER WORLD
Italian astronaut recounts spacewalk drowning terror

ISS Boosting Biological Research in Orbit

Japanese Cargo Craft Captured, Berthed to ISS

Japanese Cargo Spacecraft Docks with ISS

WATER WORLD
ISRO pins hopes on GSLV-D5

Lockheed Martin Selects CubeSat Integrators for Athena to Enhance Launch Systems Integration

Russia to resume Proton-M rocket launches in mid-September

Roscosmos denies plans to launch Proton rocket from Baikonur on Sept 15

WATER WORLD
Study: Planets might be 'born free' without a parent star

Distant planet sets speed record by orbiting its star every 8.5 hours

Kepler planet hunter spacecraft is beyond repair: NASA

Astronomers Image Lowest-mass Exoplanet Around a Sun-like Star

WATER WORLD
Earliest known iron artifacts come from outer space

ORNL finding goes beyond surface of oxide films

Boeing Thin Disk Laser Exceeds Performance Requirements During Testing

Poisoning corrosion brings stainless magnesium closer




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement