Bacteria buried deep in sediment off the coat of Peru are turning organic waste into propane, according to a study sponsored by the International Ocean Drilling Program.
Kai-Uwe Hinrichs of the University of Bremen and John Hayes of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution were studying 40 million year old sediment samples and noticed that the gas content was unexpectedly high. Further study revealed that microbes dissolve organic matter into acetate. The acetate is then fixed to hydrogen by another microbe to produce ethane. A third reaction then turns it into propane, which comes out of your gas grill.
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