Anna Pytlak, DSc, working at the Department of Natural Environment Biogeochemistry, Institute of Agrophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences. Specializes in microbiology and environmental protection. Focused on application of modern methods of identification and testing of microbial activity in soil with an emphasis on microorganisms involved in the formation and oxidation of methane. Leader of a National Scince Centre research project concerned at determination of the effects of glyphosate on the biological methane oxidation in agricultural soils.
Title of presentation: Methane in the environment and in the human economy – why should we be concerned?
Methane is the most widespread hydrocarbon in the environment and also an important climate-shaping factor. Despite its low atmospheric mixing ratio (global monthly mean for July 2022 – 1904 ppb) methane it is estimated to be responsible for c.a. 20% of global warming. The reason is the high potential of CH4 to bind solar energy, dozens of times greater than that of CO2. Noteworthy, the increase in anthropogenic CH4 emissions are recognized as one of the main driving forces behind the rapid global warming. Methane, being the main constituent of a natural gas is often used as a raw material for energy production as well as a substrate in many industrial processes. Extraction of fossil methane from underground deposits and subsequent transportation via pipeline systems generate large emissions into the atmosphere. The other important anthropogenic source of CH4 is agriculture. Particularly harmful, in terms of methane emissions are rice cultivation and cattle breeding. In both cases, methane is de novo produced by biological decomposition of organic matter (in soil and digestive systems, respectively). Agriculture also negatively affects the natural mechanisms that limit atmospheric methane concentrations, namely its biological oxidation in soils. Disruption of the homeostasis of methane-oxidizing bacteria in soils occurs through, for example, excessive mineral fertilization. The aim of the presentation is to bring knowledge of the sources of anthropogenic emissions of methane and also of its biogeochemical cycling in the environment.
The work is the result of a research project No. 2021/41/B/NZ9/03130 funded by the National Science Center.