Clarification of Answer by
24 Feb 2003 09:45 PST
I haven't seen anything along the lines of your question, but I can
possibly help in clarifying how little is known on this topic, and in
steering you towards experts in the field.
A recent report by the American Society for Microbiology, entitled
Environmental Change -- Microbial Contributions, Microbial Solutions"
can be found here:
The report describes the role of microrganisms in both unintentional
and intentional sources and sinks of CO2 and other global climate
change gasses. In general, intentional addition of nutrients to the
ocean as a means of spurring algal growth, and adding to CO@ uptake
capacity, has been fairly well-studied. But similar applications on
land -- particularly in the context of bioremediation -- have not
been. The report states, in part:
"Yet it is conceivable that algal blooms might be
managed to reduce the impact of human-related
CO2 emissions. The intentional addition of iron
nutrients in some areas of the ocean might stimulate
algae to convert more atmospheric CO2 into
biomass. Ultimately this could lower CO2 concentrations
and reduce the greenhouse effect. Similar
management of microbes and plants in terrestrial
systems might also help to mitigate CO2 accumulation.
However, the complexities of numerous
direct and subtle linkages among nutrient pollution,
algal blooms, aquatic bacteria, disease, trace
gases such as methane and nitrous oxide, climate,
and human disturbances are only now beginning
to be understood. Much more work is necessary
before algal, plant and microbe management can
be considered as a tool for climate control."
The authors of the report are listed as:
Gary M. King, Ph.D., Chair, Subcommittee on Global Environmental
University of Maine
David Kirchman, Ph.D., University of Delaware
Abigail A. Salyers, Ph.D., University of Illinois
William Schlesinger, Ph.D., Duke University
James M.Tiedje, Ph.D., Chair, Committee on Environmental Microbiology
Michigan State University
You might want to contact any or all of them to learn of any not-yet
published work that is underway on this topic. But as for published
literature, there appears to be very little that directly addresses
you follow-up question.
I do want to direct you to the following document, however, "Workshop
The Role of Biotechnology in Mitigating Greenhouse Gas
There is an entire section in the report on "Terrestrial Carbon
Sequestration" using microbes. Again, there is a good listing of the
experts in the field that may be worth a follow-up contact. But also,
again, there is no specific focus on remedial technologies, and a
general acknowledgement that our collective understanding of this
topic is based on minimal information.
As I'm sure you are well aware, there is extensive literature about
using microorganisms as a remediation tool for decontaminating
polluted sites. But there has not yet been, to my knowledge, a
specific focus on CO2 uptake or release in this regard.
I hope this information meets your needs, but don't hesitate to
request another clarification, if there is a specific question you
feel I can address.