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Gas Guzzlers

New research shows how microscopic diatoms remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and may help keep the planet from overheating

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As I sit in my apartment, it's odd to think that the powdery diatomaceous earth in my hand helped cleanse the atmosphere, and humbling to think how much remains to be learned about an organism that has long beguiled nature lovers as well as scientists. More important, this new view of diatom chemistry suggests that answers to some of earth's biggest problems may be found in some of its tiniest inhabitants.

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