Plant-like bacteria

Published: Wednesday 15 August 2001

An unusual, plant-like bacteria capable of a type of photosynthesis is available in far more numbers in the ocean than previously y assumed. The discovery adds a new component to the ocean's carbon cycle, which is a major contributor to the Earth's carbon cycle on which all life depends. The so-called aerobic photoheterotrophic bacteria that sometimes act like plants and use photosynthesis to satisfy their metabolic energy needs, may make up 11 per cent or more of all microbes near the ocean surface. It was previously believed that the ocean's carbon cycle was founded almost exclusively on phytoplankton ( , July 7, 2001).

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