“Could a microbe from hell help slow the pace of global warming? In the simmering, corrosive muds of Hell’s Gate hot springs of Rotorua, New Zealand, researchers have discovered bacteria that devour methane, a greenhouse gas that environmentalists consider 20 times more harmful that carbon dioxide.
GNS Science, a research organization owned by the New Zealand government, says the tough new bug is the first methane-loving bacterium found to flourish in conditions as hot as 158F, with a chemical ambience similar to stomach acid. This makes it potentially easier to adapt to other hostile environments such as landfills, which leak methane as trash decomposes.
Matthew Stott, a GNS microbiologist, says the bug could also be adapted for use in other methane-venting sites, such as mines. Publishing in Nature, the researchers dubbed their superhardy discovery Methylokorus infernorum, a mix of the Latinized names for methane and the infernal place the bug was found”.