From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Methanotrophs
Mains level : Methane emission
Scientists at Agharkar Research Institute (ARI), Pune have isolated 45 different strains of methanotrophic bacteria which have been found to be capable of reducing methane emissions from rice plants.
What are Methanotrophs?
- They are bacteria that metabolize and convert methane into carbon-di-oxide.
- They can effectively reduce the emission of methane, which is the second most important greenhouse gas (GHG) and 26 times more potent as compared to carbon-di-oxide.
- In rice fields, Methanotrophs are active near the roots or soil-water interfaces.
- Besides methane mitigation studies, Methanotrophs can also be used in methane value addition (valorization) studies.
- Bio-methane generated from waste can be used by the Methanotrophs and can be converted to value-added products such as single-cell proteins, carotenoids, biodiesel, and so on.
Why rice fields?
- Rice fields are human-made wetlands and are waterlogged for a considerable period. Anaerobic degradation of organic matter results in the generation of methane.
- Rice fields contribute to nearly 10% of global methane emissions.
- Very few studies in the world have focused on Methanotrophs from tropical wetlands or tropical rice fields.
- Practically no cultures of indigenously isolated Methanotrophs from India were available.
- Native and relevant Methanotrophs isolated from rice fields can be excellent models to understand the effect of various factors on methane mitigation.