An underwater colony of microbes that is producing ammonia is becoming a serious threat to the health of marine ecosystems around the world.
The research, published in the journal Science Advances, shows that the bacteria known as Halotolerants are living in deep, nutrient-rich waters near the Atlantic Ocean.
The bacteria are capable of converting nitrogen into hydrogen, which they use to create hydrogen sulfide, an oxidizing agent that could eventually be released into the environment.
“There are a lot of different kinds of bacteria that are living deep in the ocean and they are all doing different things,” said Dr. John D. Lipski, a professor of chemistry at Stanford University and a researcher in the laboratory of Dr. James B. Gass of Stanford’s Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biotechnology.
“The Halotolerance bacteria are one of the major ones.
It’s not just one type of bacteria.
It has a variety of different bacteria living together in the same water.
It could potentially be harmful.”
Lipski said the research indicates that the Halotritters are already living in the deep oceans and have an important role to play in the functioning of the marine ecosystems in which they live.
“We have a very good understanding of how these bacteria are interacting with the oxygen in the water,” he said.
“What we are seeing here is that the water has been degraded and that the microbes are in close proximity to the oxygen that is in the waters.”
The scientists studied the Halotiens living in waters of the North Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, which are two of the most nutrient-poor oceans in the planet.
They found that in the North Pacific Ocean, the HalOTriters have been living alongside the oxygen-rich deep waters of South America.
The researchers found that the halotolerance bacterial colony is capable of generating ammonia from the nitrogen.
Nitrogen is the main component of the environment in the oceans, and ammonia is an essential part of life.
The presence of the halotiens bacteria in the South Pacific Ocean is a result of nutrient degradation and nutrient depletion in the environment that has been occurring in the past, Lipsie said.
Lipsie’s team also found that when the HalTolerant bacteria were exposed to a solution of hydrogen sulfides, the halotechnic bacteria began to release ammonia into the atmosphere.
The findings are a reminder that the presence of HalOTolerants is an ongoing problem, he said, and that further research is needed to determine the role the bacteria play in maintaining the health and quality of the deep ocean.
Scientists believe the Halottres are already present in the shallow waters of deep oceans in South America and the South Atlantic Ocean, but it is unknown how the HalOTS can get into the oceans of the rest of the world and what they might do.
The Halots can thrive in the oxygen rich waters of freshwater lakes, ponds and other aquatic environments, but the organisms may not be able to survive in the saltier waters of oceans such as the North and South Pacific.
“If we do not take steps to address this problem now, we will not be prepared for the future,” Lipsi said.
The study was funded by the National Science Foundation, the American Institute of Biological Sciences, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Energy and the University of Colorado.