Researchers Find Tiny Organism That Could Reduce Greenhouse Gasses in Farms

( – When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, most of the time carbon dioxide is to blame, but there are other things like farm fields that produce much more potent gas called nitrous oxide.

Researchers have found a bacteria that can help with greenhouse gasses that are expelled in this way. They have said that extensive lab and field trials have shown that the bacteria can reduce nitrous oxide without bothering the other microbes in the soil. Not only this but it would also be cheap to produce, and it would survive well in the soil.

Lars Bakken, a professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and one of the authors, said, “I think that the avenue that we have opened here, it opens up for a number of new possibilities in bioengineering of the farmed soil.”

A pound of nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is more dangerous to the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, warming the atmosphere 265 times more. Farmers have been using nitrogen fertilizer and it accounted for six percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

This is a huge problem in agriculture, according to Lori Hoagland, who wasn’t a part of the study but is a professor of soil microbial ecology at Purdue University. She said, “The fact that they have developed a unique strategy to reduce it pretty dramatically was really interesting.”

Bakken and his colleagues used organic waste to grow their bacteria, which would be easy to integrate into the routines of farmers because most of them use manure-based fertilizers.

In the field trial, they used roving robots to measure nitrous oxide emissions day and night, while comparing the soul conditions with and without the bacteria to see how it responded. The use of the bacteria reduced the emissions of nitrous oxide by 94%

The bacteria that they decided to use is called Cloacibacterium sp. CB-01, and it is found naturally in anaerobic digesters, which are machines that are already being used to transform organic waste products like cow manure.

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