IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


23rd August, 2023 Geography

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A significant scientific discovery related to addressing methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas contributing to global warming.


  • A strain of bacteria holds the potential to remove methane from major emission sources, reducing its impact on global warming.

Bacterial Methane Consumption

  • The bacterial strain Methylotuvimicrobium buryatense 5GB1C consumes methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
  • Methane is over 85 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2) in terms of its global warming potential on a 20-year timescale.
  • It is responsible for nearly 30% of total global warming.

Reduction of Atmospheric Methane

  • Large-scale harnessing of this bacteria can prevent 240 million tonnes of methane from reaching the atmosphere by 2050.
  • The study suggests that the global average temperature rise can be reduced by 0.21-0.22 degrees Celsius through methane removal.

Methanotroph Selection

  • Methane-eating bacteria (methanotrophs) are effective, but they grow optimally at methane concentrations around 5,000-10,000 ppm.
  • Researchers screened methanotrophs to find strains that effectively consume low methane levels, around 500 ppm.
  • Methylotuvimicrobium buryatense 5GB1C demonstrated the best performance at 500 ppm and even grew well at 200 ppm.

Biomass Production and Utilization

  • The bacteria produce biomass after consuming methane, which can be used as feed in aquaculture.
  • For every tonne of methane consumed, the bacteria can generate 0.78 tonne biomass dry-weight methane, valued at $1,600 per tonne.

Implementation Strategies

  • Proposed strategies include designing biofilters containing nutrients for microorganism growth.
  • Genetic modifications can induce desired characteristics in the bacterial strain.

Impact and Feasibility

  • Preventing 240 million tonnes of methane emissions could significantly impact global warming.
  • Challenges include controlling temperature, as bacterial growth requires specific temperature ranges.
  • Economic feasibility and energy balance are crucial considerations when scaling the technology.

Future Directions

  • Field studies are needed to test the technology's feasibility.
  • Analyzing the environmental life cycle and techno-economics is necessary to ensure economic viability and environmental benefits.


Q) Discuss the significance of Methylotuvimicrobium buryatense 5GB1C in addressing methane emissions and its potential impact on mitigating global warming.  (150 words)