Treating peanut allergy bit by bit
Silkís superpowers
Watering the Air
Tree Frogs
Glimpses of a Legendary Woodpecker
Moss Echoes of Hunting
Insect Stowaways
Giving Sharks Safe Homes
Nice Chimps
Mosquito duets
Chemistry and Materials
Earth from the inside out
Hair Detectives
The hottest soup in New York
Secrets of an Ancient Computer
Music of the Future
Play for Science
Dinosaurs and Fossils
The Paleontologist and the Three Dinosaurs
A Big, Weird Dino
Hunting by Sucking, Long Ago
E Learning Jamaica
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Quick Quake Alerts
Slower Growth, Greater Warmth
Wave of Destruction
The Oily Gulf
Animal CSI or from Science Lab to Crime Lab
Little Bits of Trouble
Finding the Past
Fakes in the museum
Oldest Writing in the New World
Chicken of the Sea
Great White Shark
Megamouth Sharks
Food and Nutrition
A Pepper Part that Burns Fat
Chew for Health
Sponges' secret weapon
GSAT English Rules
Order of Adjectives
Whoever vs. Whomever
Adjectives and Adverbs
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Scotiabank Jamaica Foundation Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) Scholarships
Tarrant High overcoming the odds
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
GSAT Mathematics
Secrets of an Ancient Computer
Play for Science
Monkeys Count
Human Body
A New Touch
A Better Flu Shot
Walking to Exercise the Brain
Praying Mantis
Dust Mites
St. Bernards
The Surprising Meaning and Benefits of Nursery Rhymes
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
One ring around them all
Thinner Air, Less Splatter
Gaining a Swift Lift
A Change in Leaf Color
Tracking the Sun Improves Plant Pollen
Making the most of a meal
Gila Monsters
Space and Astronomy
Planning for Mars
Roving the Red Planet
The two faces of Mars
Technology and Engineering
Model Plane Flies the Atlantic
Reach for the Sky
Searching for Alien Life
The Parts of Speech
What is a Preposition?
Problems with Prepositions
What is a Noun
Flying the Hyper Skies
Reach for the Sky
Robots on a Rocky Road
A Dire Shortage of Water
Weekend Weather Really Is Different
Science loses out when ice caps melt
Add your Article

Bugs with Gas

You may know of propane as the gas that fires up camp stoves or fuels outdoor grills. Researchers have now found that microbes living under the ocean floor appear to produce propane and another gas called ethane. These microbes chew up ancient organic material, such as leaves and twigs buried in the sand, and they generate the gases as waste products. That's a surprise. Scientists had thought that propane and ethane could be produced only in the same way that petroleum isóby great heat applied to ancient, buried material. A team led by Kai-Uwe Hinrichs of the University of Bremen in Germany went on a research ship equipped with an enormous drill that dug out cylinders of sand or rock thousands of feet long. When the researchers examined these cylinders, they found traces of ethane and propane locked in the sediment. Normally, to generate these gases, Earth's heat cooks organic material in sand for many thousands of years. This can happen only at spots above cracks in Earth's crust, where heat can leak out from inside Earth, and where thick layers of sediment would act like a blanket. But the samples that Hinrichs and his coworkers had looked at contained thin layers of sediment. Some cylinders had also been obtained from places far from any cracks in Earth's crust. So where could the gases be coming from? Scientists already knew that microbes could break down organic material to produce a related, simpler gas called methane. So, undersea microbes were the only thing that made sense. "When you can't come up with any geologic source, then biology is an obvious candidate," Hinrichs says. The finding may someday lead to practical applications. Propane is valuable as a fuel, and ethane is used to make plastics. Pulling propane and ethane out of sediment is too difficult to be practical. But if scientists can better understand how microbes create the gases, they might be able to use the microbes' methods to make ethane and propane directly from organic material.óJ. Rehmeyer

Bugs with Gas
Bugs with Gas

Designed and Powered by™