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Marine bacteria produce an environmentally important molecule with links to climate
by University of East Anglia
Science Daily Translate This Article
13 February 2017
On 13 February 2017 Science Daily reported:
Scientists from the University of East Anglia (UK) and Ocean University China have discovered that tiny marine bacteria can synthesise one of Earth's most abundant sulfur molecules, which affects atmospheric chemistry and potentially climate. This molecule, dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) is an important nutrient for marine microorganisms and is the major precursor for the climate-cooling gas, dimethyl sulfide (DMS). It was previously widely thought that only eukaryotes - 'higher' organisms with complex cells, such as seaweeds and phytoplankton - produced DMSP. However, researchers have discovered that many marine bacteria also produce this sulfur compound, and have identified the key gene in the process.
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''Our finding that DMSP is produced by many marine bacteria could mean that scientists have been significantly underestimating both the production of this molecule and the effects it is having in the environment' said Dr Jonathan Todd from UEA's School of Biological Sciences. ''Since these bacteria do not require sunlight for growth, the production of DMSP need not be confined to the surface ocean waters which receive the most light energy, as was thought to be the case.'' The research paper is published in the scientific journal Nature Microbiology.
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