Discover the mountains of sugar hidden in the plants of the ocean

A big surprise was discovered by new research in ocean waters, which confirmed that the ocean floor contains large sugar reserves of which the world was unaware. Where scientists discovered that seagrass meadows at the bottom of the ocean can store large amounts of sugary substances, noting that it has significant effects on carbon sequestration and climate change.
According to (sciencedaily) the ocean hidden under the waves contains large reserves of sugar of which we were unaware. A team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology reported, according to their research published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution. that sugar comes in the form of sucrose (the main ingredient of sugar used in cooking), and it is released by seaweed into the ground below, an area directly affected by the roots, which means that the sugar concentrations at the bottom of the sea are about “80 times higher than they would normally be.” More than a million tons of sucrose worldwide, that’s enough for the 32 billion cans of Coca-Cola, so we’re talking about a major discovery of hidden sugar. These high concentrations of sugar are startling. Usually microorganisms quickly consume any free sugar in their environment. Scientists have discovered that seaweed secretes phenolic compounds, these compounds prevent most microorganisms from decomposing sucrose. This ensures that sucrose remains buried under the lawn and is not converted to carbon dioxide and returned to the ocean and atmosphere, and that seagrass meadows at the bottom of the ocean can store large amounts of sweet things – and there are implications. great for carbon conservation and climate change.

Polyphenols prevent microbes from eating sugar

Ocean plants – photo by sciencedaily

Microbes love sugar: easily digested and full of energy. So why isn’t a large community of microorganisms consuming sucrose in the area of ​​seaweed roots? What we have learned is that seaweed, like many other plants, releases phenolic compounds into their sediments, says lead author Maggie Sugen, who led the research on the Italian island of Elba and at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology. For example, coffee and fruits are full of phenols, and many people take them as health supplements. What is less known is that phenols are antimicrobial and inhibit the metabolism of most microorganisms.

Why does seaweed produce such large amounts of sugars and then release them only into the roots? “Seaweed produces sugar during photosynthesis,” explains Nicole Dobellier, director of the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology. “In medium light conditions, these plants use most of the sugars they produce for metabolism and growth. But in high light conditions, for example.” For example, in the middle of the day or during the summer, plants produce more sugar than can use or store. They then release excess sucrose into the root layer. Think of it as an overflow valve. “

Interestingly, a small group of microbes are able to thrive on sucrose despite challenging conditions. Sogin speculates that these sucrose specialists are not only able to break down sucrose and degrade phenols, but may also provide benefits for seaweed by producing the nutrients it needs for growth, such as nitrogen. “Such beneficial relationships between plants and root zone microorganisms are known in terrestrial plants, but we are just beginning to understand the intimate and complex interactions of seaweed with microorganisms in the marine atmosphere.”

* Critical and endangered habitats

Ocean Sugar Mountains – photo by sciencedaily

Seagrass meadows are among the most endangered habitats on our planet. “Looking at how much blue carbon – the carbon captured by oceans and coastal ecosystems – is lost when seagrass communities are destroyed, our research clearly shows: It is not just seaweed, but also large amounts of sucrose under living seaweed. would lead to loss of stored carbon.

“Our calculations show that if sucrose in the roots of seaweed were decomposed by microbes, at least 1.54 million tons of carbon dioxide would be released into the atmosphere worldwide. This is roughly equal to the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by 330 thousand. cars a year. ” Seaweed is falling rapidly across the oceans and annual losses are estimated to be up to 7% in some countries, compared to the loss of coral reefs and rainforests.Up to a third of the world’s seagrass can to have already lost.

“We do not know as much about seaweed as we do about terrestrial habitats,” Sugin claims. “Our study contributes to our understanding of one of the most important coastal habitats on our planet and highlights how important the conservation of these blue carbon ecosystems is.”

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