Sugar turns brown algae into good carbon stores

Brown algae are important players in the global carbon cycle by fixing large amounts of carbon dioxide and thus extracting this greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. Moreover, because microbial decomposition of dead brown algae is slower than that of other marine plants, carbon dioxide fixed by brown algae remains much longer in the sea. Scientists from Bremen therefore explored why brown algae degrade so slowly. They found that only highly specialized bacteria can carry out the degradation with the help of more than hundred enzymes.