Greenhouse Plants? Vegetation may produce methane | Science News


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Greenhouse Plants? Vegetation may produce methane

11:19am, January 11, 2006

Lab tests suggest that a wide variety of plants may routinely do something that scientists had previously thought impossible—produce methane in significant quantities.

Methane, like carbon dioxide, traps heat in Earth's atmosphere. Scientists have been studying natural sources of methane for decades but hadn't pegged plants as a producer, notes Frank Keppler, a geochemist at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany. Previously recognized sources of methane include bacterial action in the digestive systems of ruminants such as cows and in the saturated soils of swamps and rice paddies.

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