We have only presumed that to mess with Amazon’s rainforest is to mess with uncountable things: 2.5 million insect species, 40,000 plant species and 1,300 species of birds. A recent study conducted by a group of researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry adds another to this vast list: the Amazonian clouds themselves. The researchers traveled to Brazil to collect the rainforest air and to figure out the chemical compositions of the particles, they brought the sample to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. The result indicated the potassium salts among the carbon compounds which served as the glue between the carbon compounds. The size of the cluster was proportional to the amount of potassium. What amazed the researchers the most was the source of the potassium. Fungi are known to spray out a potassium rich fluid when shooting out their spores. This is fostered by the fact that a third of the Earth’s land surface is covered with microscopic fungi. But the researchers are yet to find whether the Amazonian fungi actually release potassium in the air. Another remaining question is whether Amazon is the only rainforest that gets the potassium cycle going. But they are sure that the rainforest is dependent on the sky and the sky is dependent on the forest.
Written by Taeyil Son.