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Thread: Methane Breathers

  1. #1 Methane Breathers 
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    I just noticed that theres apparently less than 1% CO2 in the atmosphere and yet there appears to be life forms that breathe CO2. I realize plants arent tap dancing but im still impressed by the small % that s able to do the job for them.Are there creatures that currenly breathe methane(microbes?) and if the earth had lets say 9% methane in the atmoshere for the past 600 million years could this be enough for animal like life forms to breathe methane?


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  3. #2  
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    Hi Icewendigo,

    Prokaryotic methanotrophs metabolise methane as their source of Carbon and energy. Atmospheric methane output reduction is due at least partly to the action of methanotrophs, and for this reason, methanotrophs have attracted the attention of climate change scientists.

    Methanotroph - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Best wishes,

    Tridimity


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  4. #3  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    thanks for the info. I assume that methanotrophs only live in specific areas where methane is abundant and being produced such as marshes etc, as opposed to the idea they might be getting their methane for the atmosphere in general, like we do to a certain extent, we can breathe in most places on a continent. Im wondering how much atmospheric methane would be required for methanotroph like organism to survive in most regions of a continent.
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  5. #4  
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    Yes, methanotrophs are capable of metabolising methane only in areas where the gas is highly abundant, including as you said, marshes. As far as I am aware, they are unable to metabolise atmospheric methane. The following articlr suggests that methsnol aids methane uptake by prokaryotic methanotrophs Methanol Improves Methane Uptake in Starved Methanotrophic Microorganisms wonder if it would be possible to push methanotrophs to be able to metabolise atmospheric merhane, over many generations, by artificial selection. Since methzne is something like 28 times worse than CO2 in terms of promoting the greenhouse effect, methanotrophs with the ability to uptake and metabolise atmospheric methane would ne seriously useful.Best wishes,Tri
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