Researchers at the University of East Anglia discovered that ‘Pelagibacterales,’ a group of bacteria, have a significant role to play in maintaining the stability of the Earth’s atmosphere by increasing the cloud droplets. This bacteria, which are the smallest genomes of all free-living organisms, are found in abundance on the Earth. While it is known that this group of bacteria produce dimethyl sulfide, which is an environmentally important gas, how they produce it was not known. The researcher group that studied this bacteria found that marine plankton produce a compound called dimethylsulfoniopropionate in large quantities, which is then broken down by pelagibacterales using a previously unknown enzyme. As this enzyme is found many other marine bacterial species, researchers think that the contribution of pelagibacterales has been underestimated and needs to be studied further to understand how it can help improve the Earth’s climate.
Read more in Science Daily.