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Future of fuel may lie in methane-consuming bacteria: Research

Science News, International, (Washington DC), May 15:-Researchers have finally unveiled the mechanism behind the conversion of methane into readily usable methanol in methanotrophic bacteria. The research could contribute to the future of fuel.

The study published in the journal Science has found that the enzyme, present in the methanotrophic bacteria, responsible for the conversion of methane into methanol catalyses the reaction at a site that contains only one copper ion.

The finding could lead to newly designed, human-made catalysts that can convert methane — a highly potent greenhouse gas — to readily usable methanol with the same effortless mechanism.

By oxidizing methane and converting it to methanol, methanotrophic bacteria (or ‘methanotrophs’) can pack a punch or two. Not only are they removing harmful greenhouse gas from the environment, but they are also generating a readily usable, sustainable fuel for automobiles, electricity and more.

Current industrial processes to catalyze a methane-to-methanol reaction require tremendous pressure and extreme temperatures, reaching higher than 1,300 degrees Celsius. Methanotrophs, however, perform the reaction at room temperature and ‘for free’.

-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)

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