Sumary of Antarctic bacteria live on air and make their own water using hydrogen as fuel:
- Melbourne, November 15 Humans have only recently begun to think about using hydrogen as a source of energy, but bacteria in Antarctica have been doing it for a billion years.
- We studied 451 different kinds of bacteria from frozen soils in East Antarctica and found most of them live by using hydrogen from the air as a fuel.
- Through genetic analysis, we also found these bacteria diverged from their cousins in other continents approximately a billion years ago.
- These incredible microorganisms come from ice-free desert soils north of the Mackay Glacier in East Antarctica.
- Hundreds of bacterial species and millions of cells can be found in a single gram of soil, making for a unique and diverse ecosystem.
- A dependable alternative to photosynthesis We discovered more than a quarter of these Antarctic soil bacteria create an enzyme called RuBisCO, which is what lets plants use sunlight to capture carbon dioxide from air and convert it into biomass.
- However, we found more than 99 per cent of the RuBisCO-containing bacteria were unable to capture sunlight.
- Living on air Where do the bacteria find these energy-rich compounds?