Plants Compete with Cows and Bugs to make Methane?


In a discovery that turns a major climate assumption on its head, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics have observed something that has escaped notice since scientists began understanding what methane is and how is behaves. It has been assumed until now that biogenic methane is the product of microorganisms and insects digesting organic matter. It now appears that plants themselves create the gas as well. Max Planck scientists estimate that plants account for up to a third of the methane in the earth’s ecosystem. Because methane is a strong greenhouse gas, second only to carbon dioxide, and a commonly used fuel, this discovery could have significant implications for issues of climate change. :: Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics