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Dec 24, 2021

Scientists Have Cultivated a “Miracle Microbe” That Converts Oil Into Methane

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Scientists have succeeded in cultivating an archaeon that converts oil into methane. They describe how the microbe achieves the transformation and that it prefers to eat rather bulky chunks of food.

Microorganisms can convert oil into natural gas, i.e. methane. Until recently, it was thought that this conversion was only possible through the cooperation of different organisms. In 2019, Rafael Laso-Pérez and Gunter Wegener from the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology suggested that a special archaeon can do this all by itself, as indicated by their genome analyses. Now, in collaboration with a team from China, the researchers have succeeded in cultivating this “miracle microbe” in the laboratory. This enabled them to describe exactly how the microbe achieves the transformation. They also discovered that it prefers to eat rather bulky chunks of food.

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