Expensive carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects are gaining momentum around the world as a way to combat greenhouse gas emissions (or is that sweep them under the carpet?), India’s Economic Times has reported that a team of Indian scientists have discovered a naturally occurring bacteria that could help fight global warming by converting CO2 into calcium carbonate (CaCO3) - a common compound found as rock all the world over.

The scientists found that when the bacteria, which has been extracted from a number of places including brick kilns in the Indian city of Satna, is used as an enzyme it converts CO2 into CaCO3. Dr Anjana Sharma says the resulting CaCO3 can fetch minerals of economic value, as CaCO3 has a variety of uses from being used in the purification of iron from iron ore, neutralizing acidic effects in soil and water, and even as a dietary calcium supplement or antacid.

Project coordinator, Dr Sadhana Rayalu, says, "The enzyme can be put to work in any situation, like in a chamber fitted inside a factory chimney through which CO2 would pass before being emitted into the atmosphere, and it would convert the greenhouse gas into calcium carbonate.” The team is now studying the economic viability, cloning, expression and single-step purification for the bacteria. Fingers crossed it’s cheaper and easier than CCS and therefore can be widely adopted, even in developing nations.

The team has published its findings in the Indian Journal of Microbiology and its paper has been accepted for publication in the World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology.