New discoveries show biological formation of oxygen in soils

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In the 1930s, the ability of green plants to form oxygen through oxidation of water — photosynthesis — was discovered. Since then, no other large-scale biological formation of oxygen has been found, until now. New research results show that down in the dark depths of the soil, a previously unknown biochemical process is under way, in which oxygen is formed and carbon dioxide is reduced to organic material.

“The results show that there is a highly unexpected biochemical process going on in forest-, agricultural- and grassland soils. This is knowledge that should be possible to apply in our continued work on reducing the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and countering the greenhouse effect,” says Professor Siegfried Fleischer of Halmstad University, who initiated the study “Dark Oxidation of Water in Soils,” which was just recently published in Tellus B: Chemical and Physical Meteorology



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