Researchers from the Max Planck Institute have been alarmed by the huge amounts of sucrose they found in a recent study. Seagrass, which is a marine flowering plant present in many coastal regions of the world, could also be answerable for this phenomenon. These species also play a critical role in marine ecology, being one of the efficient carbon dioxide (CO₂) sinks on the planet.
In response to the study, one square kilometre of seagrass stores almost twice as much carbon as terrestrial forests, and does so 35 times faster.
This makes seagrass a significant resource for cutting global greenhouse gas emissions.
On this latest study, the researchers find the massive stockpile of sugar to be a reason for concern.
The director of the institute, Nicole Dubilier said: “Normally, sugar is an element of the natural strategy of photosynthesis.
“These plants use many of the sugars they produce for their very own growth.
“But under conditions of high light, at noon or throughout the summer, for instance, plants produce more sugar than they will eat.”
These excess amounts of sugar produced are then stored, only to be released later into the rhizosphere, which is the a part of the soil where the roots are positioned.
During warmer weather, this rhizosphere is brimming with high concentrations of sugar.
Manuel Liebeke, head of the Institute’s Metabolic Interactions Research Group said: “It’s estimated that there are between 0.6 and 1.3 million tons of sugar within the rhizosphere of seagrasses worldwide.”
This quantity is corresponding to about 32 billion cans of soda.
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This rhizosphere can be home to a bunch of various bacteria and other microorganisms, which like humans, love sugar.
For these microbes, sugars are easy to digest, it’s quickly consumed and converted into CO₂ by bacteria.
In an effort to prevent this production of carbon dioxide, seagrasses then intervene in the method by releasing phenols into their sediments.
Phenols, that are a kind of chemical compound produced by plants, are present in on a regular basis foods, nonetheless, in addition they have an extra antimicrobial function.
Within the study, the researchers discovered that by stopping the microorganisms from digesting the sugars within the seagrass, they were in a position to prevent large amounts of carbon dioxide from being released into the ocean.
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