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Because in the process of metabolizing nutrients, the bacteria give off gaseous wastes.
Phase II detoxification enzymes (such as glutathione-S-transferases and quinone reductase), which are responsible for metabolizing the products of phase I metabolic reactions, degrade these reactive intermediates by conjugation or reduction reactions, thereby protecting cells from oxidative DNA damage.
The scientists discovered that the most stable and abundant PCBs found in human tissues activated PXR and induced expression of target genes for metabolizing the toxicants, producing a protective physiological reaction in rodents.
However, much of the planet-warming gas never makes it into the atmosphere because bacteria in these environments feed on it, metabolizing it into methyl alcohol.
Unpublished experiments comparing the nitrogen isotopes in worms and whale bones suggest that the bacteria are indeed metabolizing lipids from the whales, says Vrijenhoek.
Kalow discovered that a genetically based deficiency in the metabolizing enzyme pseudocholinesterase was responsible, and proceeded to describe the population incidence of the various alleles responsible for the deficiency.