About six years ago, the science textbooks had to be updated due to the surprising discovery by the research group of Frank Keppler: Plants produce methane in an oxygen-rich environment. At that time, it was unthinkable because it was accepted that biogenic methane could only be formed due to the decomposition of organic matter under conditions of low oxygen.
His group has now a new and fascinating observation: Fungi that produce methane.
Methane is 25 times more effective as a greenhouse gas in comparison with carbon dioxide. Most of this gas is produced by bacteria in the rice fields, in landfills or livestock waste.
After studying Frank Keppler and his colleagues in 2006, which revealed that the plants are able to produce methane, his research team has continued to seek sources of this greenhouse gas.
Now Katharina Lenhart, a member of the research group of Frank Keppler at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Germany, has made another interesting finding. She has discovered that fungi that decompose dead organic matter also emit methane.
In their study, the biologist examined eight different Basidiomycetes fungi. Under laboratory conditions, methane production observed and verified their findings using isotopically labeled substrates.
During his experiments, varied conditions in the broth cultures growing fungi, and found that the underlying substrate has a significant impact on the amount of methane generated.
Several methods were used molecular biological and analytical, in collaboration with the University of Giessen and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Magdeburg, both institutions in Germany, to see if the phenomenon was involved in some microorganism methanogen (microbes, essentially archaea, which methane produced in metabolism), and the result was negative: there were no such organisms. Thus, the processes occurring within the mushrooms must be responsible for the observed formation of methane.