Russian agriculture was severely hit by the 2010 drought. Some territories (for example, Tatarstan and Bashkortostan) were affected a year earlier, in the summer of 2009. First of all, the reduction of fodder supplies led to mass slaughter of cattle. It is clear that another summer like that would lead to the collapse of European Russia agriculture and the end of its food security.
And no one can be sure that a hot summer like the one of 2010 will not happen. But apart from the drought there are other natural phenomena that have repeatedly led to famine and dying out of a large part of the population, for example in the 6th, 14th and early 17th centuries. Humanity is not ready to face such threats.
It's time to remember that despite the usage of different technologies our civilization still depends on harvest as it did centuries ago. As the planet's population exceeds the level that could be provided by the ecosystem the yields have to be largely supported artificially.
However the fodder problem has a solution, provided by the causes of the drought itself.
If Dr. Larin's hypothesis is correct then there was a local greenhouse dome formed over Russia due to the intensification of deep degassing of the planet. Even if this particular assumption is incorrect, the streams of hydrogen, described by Dr. Larin in his main work are promising for energy sector and other spheres of their possible usage.
Hydrogen is more than just fuel; it is also the basis of fodder supply and food industry, which doesn't depend on climate. Basically, using hydrogen our civilization can become completely independent of the planet's surface, the sunlight, plants and photosynthesis.
It is well known that oxygen is produced by green plants that use the energy from sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into organic compounds for their own needs.
However, on our planet oxygen is produced in several ways, and photosynthesis is only one of them.
Firstly, in stratosphere ultraviolet radiation decomposes the molecules of water vapor, then hydrogen escapes into space, and oxygen remains in the atmosphere.
The second way is cavitation. By the way, Dr. Larin was the first to take into account the role of sound in the natural process of water decomposition with oxygen release. Of course the sound waves can't decompose water molecules themselves, but intense sound can cause cavitation - the self-accelerating process of implosion of microbubbles, which leads to excess in pressure in their center.
These two methods of natural oxygen production do not entail carbon dioxide consumption.
However, there are some organisms that do not require sunlight to consume carbon dioxide. They only require hydrogen; and they are called hydrogen bacteria.
Why was the great role of hydrogen bacteria in carbon dioxide consumption neglected?
Only because biologists didn't known Dr. Larin's theory.
Elemental hydrogen was considered to be relatively rare on Earth. It was believed that hydrogen bacteria consumed petty doses of hydrogen produced by other microbes during the decay of organic matter. It was still far from understanding the truth about hydrogen distribution, though it was acknowledged that hydrogen bacteria are extremely common in soil. It didn't quite match the notion of them being just symbiotic with putrefactive microbes. The diversity of species was too large and their distribution was too wide for that.
So, what do we know of these bacteria?
Bacteria that receive energy from oxidation of molecular hydrogen are called hydrogen bacteria. As a rule this reaction is accompanied by the consumption of carbon dioxide. Most hydrogen bacteria grow well in organic media.
Hydrogen bacteria do not form a single taxonomic group; they belong to the following genera: Pseudomonas, Alcaligenes, Microcyclus, Paracoccus, Nocardia, and others. Among all the chemosynthetic bacteria hydrogen bacteria have the largest number of species. Such diversity corroborates the idea of a greater role in nature than previously thought.
They are common in soil and water bodies. Among soil bacteria Hydrogenomonas eutropha is well studied. It is a small non-sporing active rod with a polar flagellum, which forms yellow colonies. There are some high expectations associated with this particular species.
Microorganisms oxidizing H2 only in oxygen-free anaerobic media usually are not ranked among hydrogen bacteria. Those are methane-producing and sulfate-reducing bacteria. We will revert to methane-producing bacteria later as they also concern the subject of this article.
Some species of hydrogen bacteria grow very fast, they are able to double their mass in two hours. Moreover, this biomass is high in protein; it contains all necessary amino acids unlike plant proteins.
Using hydrogen bacteria to produce feed for cattle would be quite easy; though, after conducting artificial selection of bacteria human food can also be obtained directly.
Along with hydrogen mankind gets another resource that can be used in energy sector, and for food supply in the most difficult climatic conditions. It would enable us to become independent of droughts and volcanic coolings.
Modern civilization still depends on agriculture, it has overloaded the ecosystem. To obtain the required yields agriculture has to be intensified all the time using all sorts of fertilizers. However, fertilizers can only help if the other weather conditions are suitable for growth. Even during the historical period there had occurred several disasters which lead to lasting crop failure. For instance the dreadful 1600th and the next three years: it was snowing in summer and there was no harvest, which led to mass extinction and cannibalism in many countries around the world.
Nowadays such a poor harvest would lead to hundreds of millions of deaths from starvation.
Still there are even greater threats, for example a nuclear war or a supervolcano. After the eruption of a supervolcano the amount of light would reduce by 90%, it would be twilight even at noon, and it would be pitch dark the rest of the time. Photosynthesis would reduce by 85%, which means that no agricultural plant could yield, only some weeds would be able to survive. Agriculture would simply disappear. The word summer wouldn't apply to any season for several decades, because even in summer there would be wet snow all around the globe. Of course the population would reduce to a bare minimum, although some may still survive due to cannibalism.
With hydrogen-based food industry we would become independent of climate, and able to produce nutrients even under the ground. The only things required would be boreholes providing hydrogen and fermenters with hydrogen bacteria.
Dr. Larin has made a lot of efforts to prove that hydrogen streams are very powerful. Sometimes the seeps of hydrogen and its concomitant hypergolic silane can cause powerful explosions, the occurrence of thermokarst and blast craters; such things happened in Sasovo, in Kursk and Lipetsk region. Larin observed soil discoloration in areas with particularly strong seepage.
The intensification of hydrogen degassing is an alarming symptom that may precede geological disasters. All the same hydrogen itself would give us a chance to survive under adverse conditions.
Perhaps there is a whole undiscovered ecosystem beneath the earth, independent of the surface with its sunlight and photosynthesis. Though it may only be based on methane-producing bacteria, not hydrogen bacteria as there's little air in the depths.
Methane-producing bacteria live reducing CO2 to methane with hydrogen; they also use carbon monoxide (CO), methanol, formic acid, acetic acid and other compounds to produce carbon. They are strictly anaerobic and do not like the atmosphere. Their cell wall does not contain murein, and their RNA differs from the RNA of other organisms. These bacteria have unique coenzymes of their own, such as 2-mercaptan ethanesulfonic acid which involved in methyl group transfers. Due to all these peculiar characteristics methane-producing bacteria are considered to be a separate group of archaea.
Methane-producing bacteria have diverse structure, too (rod-shaped, curved, and spherical).
They inhabit flood-prone soils, swamps, pond silt. We can point out their most important genera, such as Methanobacterium, Methahosarcina, Methanococcuc.
Due to their inability to carry out reactions other than methanogenesis it was believed that methane-producing bacteria cooperate with other anaerobic bacteria which decompose organic matter releasing H2 and low molecular weight carbon compounds. But then again, this statement ignores Larin's theory about the amount of hydrogen seepage from the bowels of the planet.
Methane-producing bacteria may be even more useful than hydrogen bacteria. It is so due to the fact that hydrogen bacteria are aerobic, they can only survive relatively close to the surface.
At the same time methane-producing bacteria can intercept most of the hydrogen at depth. We cannot even estimate how much hydrogen they consume there. Carbon dioxide gas is also released from the bowels of the Earth, so bacteria suffer no shortage. It is always warm at depth, so the temperature is conducive to bacteria's vital activity.
These bacteria might begin the food chain of more complex organisms - the strange creatures of the depths which have never seen sunlight, and which do not need air to breathe. Practically we can't know anything about those depths. A lot of time will pass before we discover the creatures that might inhabit the dark, heated depths, the warm subsurface waters which impregnate the strata. We got a little bit carried away with the assumptions, but this hypothetical ecosystem may be called Chthon according to the mythological traditions.
We cannot estimate the total biomass of Chthon. It might be bigger that the mass of biosphere on the surface. What do we know about the life beneath?
The greenhouse effect theories never paid much attention to hydrogen and methane-producing bacteria. Not knowing about Dr. Larin's theory, about the amount of hydrogen seepage, climatologists simply could not have known about the amount of carbon dioxide consumed by these bacteria. After all, they were considered to be just symbiotic with other bacteria... But if hydrogen seepage is as intensive, then hydrogen bacteria might consume as much carbon dioxide as plants do, though it would be impossible to estimate now. To get accurate data a lot of research has to be carried out. There are more questions than answers on this topic right now.
Let's revert to agriculture. The idea of producing human food using hydrogen bacteria may seem premature to some. Of course long-term tests have to be carried out at first. (Though, nowadays food is full of all kinds of chemical additives, bacterial food at least wouldn’t contain insecticides.) Organizing the production of feed for farm animals can be much faster.
Thus, agriculture can become super-productive in countries with any climatic conditions, even in the permafrost, even after a global catastrophe.
The 2010-drought showed that the introduction of artificial food technologies should not be delayed because there is no assurance it won't happen again.
Of all the technologies only biotechnology based on hydrogen bacteria can give the humanity assurance of survival, whatever the climatic disasters.
1. Заварзин Г.А., Водородные бактерии и карбоксидобактерии, М., 1978.
2. Ларин В.Н. Водородная энергетика: пора бурить скважины – Химия и жизнь, №10, 2000, с. 46-51.
3. Биологический энциклопедический словарь. Научное издательство «Большая Российская энциклопедия», Москва, 1995.
Перевод: Колодич Анна (Translated by Anna Kolodych)