Oceans

Did You Know That There Are Sugar Mountains Hidden In The Ocean? Here’s What We Just Found Out

It is certain that only 5% of the oceans across the world remain explored, and the rest 95% continue to be a mystery for humans. A new research has found out that hidden below the waves, the ocean contains vast reserves of sugar that we never were aware of.

Strange, no? Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Germany have found mountains of sugar beneath seagrass meadows across the world’s oceans. Seagrass meadows are extremely efficient at capturing carbon, and are one of the world’s top carbon capturing ecosystems.

Nature

Massive amount of sugar in seagrass meadows

According to the institute, one square kilometer of seagrass stores almost twice as much carbon as forests on land, and 35 times as fast. When the seabed around these meadows were inspected, it was found to have massive amounts of sugar in their soil systems.

The sugar comes in the form of sucrose (the main ingredient of sugar used in the kitchen), and it’s released from the seagrasses into the soil underneath, an area directly affected by the roots, known as the rhizosphere. It means seabed sugar concentrations are some 80 times higher than they would be normally, Manuel Liebeke, who is head of the research group undertaking the study at the institute.

Sugar equal to about 32 billion cans of Coca-Cola

Worldwide, seagrasses could be sitting on up to 1.3 million tons of sucrose, the research team says. To put it another way, that’s enough for about 32 billion cans of Coca-Cola, so we’re talking about a substantial find of hidden sugar ..

“Seagrasses produce sugar during photosynthesis,” says marine microbiologist Nicole Dubilier from the institute.

ocean heatReuters

“Under average light conditions, these plants use most of the sugars they produce for their own metabolism and growth. But under high light conditions, for example at midday or during the summer, the plants produce more sugar than they can use or store. Then they release the excess sucrose into their rhizosphere. Think of it as an overflow valve. “

Effects of losing seagrass meadows

While this is an extremely new discovery, seagrass meadows are among the most threatened habitats on Earth. According to the institute, they are rapidly declining in all oceans and up to a third of the world’s seagrass may already be lost.

Ocean Is Losing Its Memory Due To Global Warming And That'll Impact Weather Predictions: StudyUnsplash

Liebke sheds some insight on this by saying, “Looking at how much blue carbon that is carbon captured by the world’s ocean and coastal ecosystems is lost when seagrass communities are decimated, our research clearly shows: It is not only the seagrass itself, but also Our calculations show that if the sucrose in the seagrass rhizosphere was degraded by microbes, at least 1.54 million tons of carbon dioxide would be released into the atmosphere worldwide… That’s roughly equivalent to the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by 330,000 cars in a year. ”

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