Temperature Affects Biological Activity of Microbes
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Temperature Affects Biological Activity of Microbes

July 26, 2010
Sediment containing decomposed plants and animals washes downstream and collects in estuaries. Microbes in the sediment complete the final decomposition step by breaking down the organic carbon, and making it available for other organisms. Researchers recently discovered that the microbes' activity increases with rising temperature. Therefore, global climate change could potentially shift the balance of carbon recycling and storage.

Relatively little has been known until now about how temperature affects the microbial process, responsible for the initial breakdown of complex organic matter in sediments. But the results of a National Science Foundation-supported study show that temperature strongly affects organic matter breakdown and needs to be taken into account in understanding the role of sediments in the global carbon cycle."

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