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Nickel isotope may be microbial methane biomarker

U.S. and British scientists have determined nickel might be a useful isotopic marker to trace the origins of single cell organisms that produce methane.

"Our data suggest significant potential in nickel stable isotopes for identifying and quantifying methanogenesis on the early Earth," said Vyllinniskii Cameron, a recent Penn State graduate and now a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Bristol. "Little is known about the actual timing of the evolution of methane producing organisms or their metabolism. Nickel stable isotope fractionation may well prove to be the fundamental unambiguous trace metal biomarker for these methanogens."
 
 

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