In analyzing seawater samples found in the depths of the dark ocean (200-1000m) scientists from Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences have discovered nitrite-oxidizing bacteria after mistakenly giving Archaea the credit.
Nitrite-oxidizing bacteria get their energy by oxidizing inorganic nitrogen compounds, responsible for fixing 15-45% of inorganic carbon in the dark ocean. This study clarifies how lightless microorganisms gain energy and flourish in the dark ocean. This brings new insight on the global carbon cycle.
Carbon is stored in the oceans for millions of years, isolating how these microbes fix carbon could be used in bioengineering to further remove CO2 efficiently.
Maria G. Pachiadaki, Eva Sintes, Kristin Bergauer, Julia M. Brown, Nicholas R. Record, Brandon K. Swan, Mary Elizabeth Mathyer, Steven J. Hallam, Purificacion Lopez-Garcia, Yoshihiro Takaki, Takuro Nunoura, Tanja Woyke, Gerhard J. Herndl, Ramunas Stepanauskas. Major role of nitrite-oxidizing bacteria in dark ocean carbon fixation. Science, 2017; 358