Researchers from the United States have found that fungi play a significant role in the processing of carbon dioxide in the seas and oceans. They take on almost 20% of the total volume of harmful substances.
In a new study, scientists have found that tiny algae in Earth’s oceans and lakes absorb sunlight and carbon dioxide and convert them into sugar, which maintains the balance of the aquatic food web. At the same time, they absorb as much carbon as all the trees and plants of the planet put together.
However, scientists did not understand what happens in the process of “fixing” CO2 in phytoplankton and its subsequent release into the atmosphere or sinking to a depth where it no longer contributes to global warming. This element turned out to be a fungus.
Until now, researchers assumed that most of the carbon ends up in bacteria or dissolves in the surrounding water, where it is absorbed by other organisms. The conventional wisdom is that carbon leaves this microbial loop mainly through large organisms. However, it turned out that the fungus can create a “fast lane for carbon” – transferring about 20% of substances to a higher level of the food chain.
The authors measured and analyzed interactions within the Stechlin Lake pathosystem using genomic sequencing, a fluorescence microscopy technique that involves attaching a fluorescent dye to RNA inside microbial cells. Then, nanoscale maps of the isotopes of elements present in the materials in small quantities are created.
The study’s findings also have implications for industrial and recreational facilities that deal with harmful algal blooms. “In aquaculture, fungicides can be added to the water to maintain the health of the main crop such as fish. This will prevent fungal infection of the fish, but it could also eliminate the natural control of algal blooms, which costs the industry an estimated $ 8 billion a year, ”the scientists noted.