A newly discovered phylum of Archaea, Brockarchaeota, can break down plant and organic matter without releasing methane. An international collaboration between scientists based in the USA and China, led by Brett Baker (University of Texas, TX, USA), has identified an entire phylum within the domain Archaea. The microbes within the phylum appear able to degrade plant matter without producing methane: a vital new factor for climate scientists to incorporate into modeling studies. The domain Archaea has been dramatically understudied in comparison to Bacteria and Eukaryota. Having identified several key geothermal environments, including hot springs and hydrothermal vents, as regions rich...
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