Recently, scientists have invented an entirely new phylum of archaea, which was found in deep-sea hydrothermal vents in the Gulf of California and within seven hot springs of China. After several studies, researchers identified genes that produce Methane in archaea and suggested their significant role in Earth’s Carbon Cycle.
Significance of Microorganisms
Microorganisms are more abundant in number and diverse forms of life on earth, but we know just 1 % of them. We humans have less information about organisms. It is the right time we explore and evaluate it further to learn and know many such unknown and unrevealed aspects. Many microorganisms initiate the chief chemical cycles on earth, which we are still unaware of.
Usually, we have an awful impression regarding microorganisms because we only know that they cause various diseases and are infections. But various microorganisms perhaps do good for us, such as the microorganisms that live inside our body and help digest food. We need to know and understand those positive elements as well.
If we go into detail about microorganisms, they are involved in ecological processes such as taking CO₂ from the atmosphere or in the process of waste materials and nutrients recycling. For several years’ various studies have been going on to know multiple microbial species which are still undiscovered. But scientists know one group of microbes comparatively little about called archaea. It is the right time researchers focus on it and investigate many unrevealed facts about it.
What is Archaea
Archaea are microorganisms that are very similar to bacteria. They resemble bacteria in structure and size but they are entirely dissimilar in molecular organization. Archaeal cells have some of the exclusive properties which separate them from the Bacteria and Eukaryote. Know all those factors especially the crucial elements that differ them.
Where Do Archaea Lives?
Archaea usually lives in very extreme environments. The external climate can be superhot or even cool or freezing climatic conditions, bombarded with UV or gamma radiation, acidic, deep in oceans, alkaline, salty. Archaea can live in any of the above said environmental conditions at ease.
Archaea Can Recycle Carbon Without Producing Methane
Hypothermal and earth’s hot springs are the perfect zone for the unidentified group of archaea. The archaea which don’t produce Methane (climate-warming gas) is tiny, single-celled organism that lives deep in sediments and rely on the decaying plant matter. Archaea are also different from eukaryotes and bacteria and so are they famous as the third domain of life. Archaea belongs to a specified mysterious group.
Previously, we predicted that archaea would exist on earth only in the most extreme environment conditions like hot springs. But the fact is, archaea are everywhere, and these archaea indeed play a significant role in how Nitrogen and Carbon cycle between earth’s land, atmosphere, and oceans matter. There are various groups of archaea like Thaumarchaeota, which are commonly seen in oceans. Another type of archaea is called methane-producing microbe, which is frequently observed in cow’s stomach and which cause burp to animals in large amounts.
In the recent findings, the researchers have already discovered an entirely new phylum of archaea—and these are a large branch of related organisms. They observed these new organisms inside the sediments from seven hot springs in China and the Gulf of California deep-sea hydrothermal vents in the Guaymas Basin. The researchers have found DNA bits meticulously accumulated DNA inside these sediments into genomes or genetic blueprints of fifteen diverse archaea. The genetic information of the genomes was compared with that of several genomes of microbes that are identified before, and this information is available in databases.
It was found that sequences were utterly different from what we know. Hence researchers named the new group of the microbe as Brockarchaeota. Such isolated Brockarchaeotais found worldwidebut researchers didn’t come across undescribed and unnamed until now. After identifying the new genomes, they have further searched for them in the public databases. They came to know that they learned that jiffs of these unknown organisms, which were found previously, had been found in hydrothermal, hot springs and geothermal vent sediments from South Africa to Indonesia till Rwanda.
The New Research is a Boon in Disguise
The research team also searched for the genes linked with these microbes within the new genomes. They further researched microbes’ metabolism, like what they consume (nutrients) and which type of waste they produce. The research team also predicted that this newly discovered archaeon would be a methane producer, like all other archaea.
The newly discovered archaea munch on the same methane-producing archaea does the same. They chew on one-carbon compounds like methyl sulfide or methanol. But the research team couldn’t identify the responsible genes that produce Methane. They revealed though that they are not found in the Brockarchaeota. It means that these newly identified archaea should have undescribed metabolism, by which these archaea can able to do the process of carbon recycling.
These freshly identified organisms may play a hidden but vital part in earth’s Carbon cycle, and thus it can certainly leave a major impact. Hence we can state that this is an entirely new phylum and a fresh metabolism. The research team of scientists have already identified this concept which is also one of the testimonials to the power of metagenomics. By using various techniques, researchers can locate diverse, mysterious microbial worlds that certainly proves a new research.
As per this research study, researchers have already stated that there are various archaea out there and every time you start to do DNA sequencing, you will be able to guess that there is more and more information that you were not able to find out in the first time. There is still ample need to study further to get to know many of the unrevealed scientific facts. The time is rife for a constant effort to go deeper into further scientific investigations to remain abreast of the many facets of nature’s bounty, and scientific discoveries.