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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

New discovery has shown the bacteria responsible for ozone-depleting gas.

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has shown a biological mechanism that convert nitrogen-based fertilizer into nitrous oxide, an ozone-depleting greenhouse gas. Agriculture is the steady source of nitrous oxide through nitrogen fertilizers.The increasing population has prompted more agricultural practices with more tilling and ploughing and increase use of nitrogen fertilizers to boost food production. The more nitrogen fertilizers are used,the higher the release of this ozone-depleting gas and global warming. The Nitrous oxide is photochemical and forms free radicals which are ozone-depleting agents that aggravates the issue of covering Earth's atmosphere with more gas and raising the globe's temperature. Cornell University researchers discovered a biological mechanism that convert nitrogen-based fertilizer into nitrous oxide, an ozone-depleting greenhouse gas .Kyle Lancaster, assistant professor of chemistry and chemical biology, and senior author on the research explained that to plug a leak you must identify source and then take necessary steps to correct The rise of Nitrous oxide is becoming quite significant in the atmosphere, as there has been a 120 percent increase of nitrous oxide in our atmosphere since pre-industrial times and this has been identified as source of ozone depleting gas. The researchers , showed that an enzyme made by the ammonia oxidizing bacterium Nitrosomonas europaea, cytochrome P460, produces nitrous oxide after the organism turns ammonia into an intermediate metabolite called hydroxylamine. The N. europaea and similar "ammonia-oxidizing bacteria" use hydroxylamine as their fuel source, but too much hydroxylamine can be harmful and this result in production of nitrous oxide as a chemical coping strategy. Lancaster and his colleagues explained that when ammonia-oxidizing bacteria are exposed to high levels of nitrogen compounds, such as in crop fields or wastewater treatment plants, then nitrous oxide production via cytochrome P460 will increase . Nitrous oxide has 300 times the potency of carbon dioxide hence a potentially harmful gas to be releasing on a global scale.