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Methanotrophic Bacteria for Methane Mitigation

  • 13 Mar 2020
  • 2 min read

Why in News

Recently, scientists at the Agharkar Research Institute (ARI), Pune have enriched, isolated and cultivated 45 different strains of methanotrophs (methane-utilising bacteria) and created the first indigenous methanotroph culture.

  • ARI is an autonomous institute under the Department of Science & Technology.

Key Points

  • Scientists used some of the isolated strains of methanotrophs as bio-inoculants in rice plants.
  • They found that there was a decrease in methane emissions in inoculated plants with a positive or neutral effect on the growth of the rice. This finding could lead to the development of microbial inoculants for methane mitigation in rice.
  • Methanotrophs metabolise and convert methane into carbon-di-oxide enabling them to reduce methane emissions from rice plants.
    • In rice fields, methanotrophs are active near the roots or soil-water interfaces.
    • Rice fields are human-made wetlands and are waterlogged for a considerable period.
      • Anaerobic degradation of organic matter results in the generation of methane.
      • Rice fields contribute to nearly 10% of global methane emissions.

Inoculation

  • In microbiology, inoculation is defined as introducing microorganisms into a culture where they can grow and reproduce. More generally, it can also be defined as introducing a certain substance into another substance.
  • Bio-inoculants are living organisms containing strains of specific bacteria, fungi, or algae. These are also known as microbial inoculants.

Significance

  • Methanotrophs can effectively reduce the emission of methane, which is the second most important greenhouse gas (GHG) and 26 times more potent as compared to carbon-di-oxide.
  • Native methanotrophs isolated from rice fields can be excellent models to understand the effect of various factors on methane mitigation.
  • Besides methane mitigation studies, methanotrophs can also be used in methane value addition (valorization) studies.
    • Bio-methane generated from waste can be used by the methanotrophs and can be converted to value-added products such as single-cell proteins, biodiesel, and so on.

Source: PIB

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