Researchers from Radboud University Nijmegen and B-WARE Research Centre have discovered new methane-consuming bacteria in the soil beneath the Brunssummerheide peatland reserve in Limburg, the Netherlands. Although the bacteria may be the result of environmental pollution, they are now consuming the harmful greenhouse gas.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology has published the results in its December issue.
In the middle of the Brunssummerheide heathland reserve is a unique sloping peatland site with a great diversity of flora and fauna, such as the rare Bog Asphodel and the protected Northern Emerald dragonfly. The variety of landscape types within a small area means that it is vulnerable to water level and water quality changes. Dutch nature conservation association Vereniging Natuurmonumenten therefore wants to know how to best manage and protect the area, and called on the help of B-WARE Research Centre and Radboud University Nijmegen in 2008.