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Biology Articles » Geobiology » Did you know? The oldest organisms live in waste repositories

Did you know? The oldest organisms live in waste repositories

Did you know? The oldest organisms live in waste repositories

June 11, 2003 -  Some of the oldest organisms - Archaea - live in waste repositories. These microorganisms have lived on Earth for 3.8 billion years and some of them can produce methane, used as a renewable energy source. Cemagref scientists are trying to enhance their activities so that they produce methane more quickly. Why? In order to release the pollutants earlier while the landfill closure systems are still in prime condition. Speeding up the biodegradation would stabilise the waste in ten years, instead of the thirty to fifty years needed today. The scientists are looking for the most efficient populations of microorganisms to foster their growth. One of the ways to do this is to keep the humidity constant throughout the whole pile of waste by re-injecting the polluted leachate which has seeped to the bottom. Research is needed to find the most efficient recirculation methods. It might also be possible to pretreat the leachate before recirculation, in order to combine the degradation properties of aerobic and anaerobic microorganims to more efficiently remove pollution. Designing tomorrow's bioreactors means recreating the environmental conditions best suited to microbial growth. Will this mean reproducing the conditions under which life first evolved on Earth?

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