Termites Fart Methane, But Their Mounds Filter It From The Air

How termite's mound filters methane

It sounds funny, farts contributing the global warming but the fact is it does. To live every living being has to consume food in some form. At the time of digestion, bacterias living in the stomach break down the food and release energy and waste products. Usually, Methane produced by microbes at the time of digestion. It’s a natural byproduct which is a major component of farts.

Methane is one of the largest contributors to the greenhouse effect which causes global warming. It’s 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide that’s why it’s dangerous for us.

Now let’s comes to Termites. Like cockroaches, they are social insects. They are also known for there unexceptional building skills. They have the ability to create very clever ventilation systems. Recent data estimates termites are responsible for 1-3% of all methane emissions. It may sound small, but that’s up to 20 million tonnes of methane annually coming out the rear ends of those humble insects.

Should we worry about it?

But thanks to those clever builders, we don’t have to deal with that. They built filter systems in their dwelling to remove this gas before it’s emitted into the wider atmosphere. In the soil, a group of bacteria lives known as methanotrophs. They also consume methane as their primary source of energy. Around half all methane emitted from termites is weakened by bacteria living within the termite mounds.

Termite mounds in Australia
Termite mounds in Australia

In addition of scientists created 3D models of mounds using photographs of active mounds and CT scans of old unused termite mounds. This uncovers the inner structure of mounds and helps them to understand the methane emission process.

Scientists experimented on 23 mounds built by three different termite species. They also tested the mounds by injecting methane attached to a tracer gas, argon into the mounds. It helps to measure the accurate proportion of methane was emitted into the atmosphere.

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Written by Amazing Fact

The world is full of amazing and mindblowing facts. I love to know and share incredible facts with the world.

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