Researchers have found a new source of oxidant-producing bacteria deep in the ocean where they lived unbeknownst to scientists until now, according to a press release from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
The study focused on organisms producing superoxide, a toxic oxidant that can kill coral and fish.
Findings suggest that bacteria dwelling in dark places, whether it’s soil or deep volcanic ocean vents, will produce superoxide. It was previously thought that oxide-producing bacteria were dependent on light sources. The scientists found that 90 percent of bacteria studied produced superoxide in dark environments.
Despite the toxicity of oxidants, they also play a role in consumption of mercury in the oceans and help microorganisms consume nutrients.
The study was published in the journal Science Express.