Soil Microbial Processes Involved in Production and Consumption of Atmospheric Trace Gases

  • Ralf Conrad
Part of the Advances in Microbial Ecology book series (AMIE, volume 14)


World climate is not only a function of atmospheric physics but of atmospheric chemistry as well. In fact, the science community investigating questions on atmospheric chemistry developed rapidly after publication of the pioneering monograph by Christian Junge in 1963. Since then, it has become clear that the chemistry of the atmosphere is highly dynamic. In fact, the composition of the atmosphere is presently changing in a direction that ultimately may alter the global and regional climate of Earth (Houghton et al., 1990). Interesting to the microbiologists is the fact that the chemistry of the atmosphere is to a large extent the result of the Earth’s biosphere, and with that of microbial processes. For example, it was the evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis by cyanobacteria that allowed the production of significant amounts of O2 (Schidlowski, 1983; Holland, 1984). This microbial O2 production finally resulted in the accumulation of O2 in a so-far anoxic atmosphere, and thus resulted in one of the most dramatic shifts in the habitability of our planet, i.e., shift in the dominance of anaerobic to aerobic life.


Nitric Oxide Nitrous Oxide Wetland Soil Upland Soil Methanotrophic Bacterium 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ralf Conrad
    • 1
  1. 1.Max Planck Institut für Terrestrische MikrobiologieMarburgGermany

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