University of Massachusetts Amherst

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In Pictures

  • Close up view of methane producing microorganisms, Methanosaetes, in blue

Methane Microbe: Discovering a Major Pathway of Production

The image above depicts one of the most abundant methane-producing microorganisms on earth, Methanosaetes (in blue). For 40 years, scientists thought they understood how certain bacteria work together to anaerobically digest biomass to produce methane gas, important in bioenergy and the major source of greenhouse gas. UMass Amherst microbiologist Derek Lovley and colleagues, including former postdoctoral researcher and first author Amelia-Elena Rotaru, show for the first time that these organisms make direct electrical connections with another species to produce the greenhouse gas in a completely unexpected way. This research discovery could be a key to developing efficient bioenergy strategies. Learn more.

Photo credit: Dale Callahan and Amelia-Elena Rotaru