Methane metabolising organisms discovered.

An international project led by researchers at the University of Queensland has led to the discovery of two new methane-metabolising organisms.

This may be a boon for gassy coal operations, and provide a safer environment.

The new organisms are believed to play a role in both emitting and consuming greenhouse gases, leading to the suggestion that organisms involved in carbon cycling and methane production are scientifically missing.

Deputy Head of UQ’s Australian Centre for Egonomics in the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences Associate Professor Gene Tyson discovered novel methane microorganisms found in a wide range of environments, including deep-ocean and freshwater sediments.

“Traditionally, these types of methane-metabolising organisms occur within a single cluster of microorganisms called Euryarchaeota,” Dr Tyson said.

“This makes us wonder how many other types of methane-metabolising microorganisms are out there?”

Techniques used to sequence DNA on a large scale into genomes have been developed by the Australian Centre for Ecogenomics over the past two years.

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