New researches tackle nitrous oxide emissions

NHK -- Sep 08
Researchers in Japan and overseas have joined forces to explore ways to reduce agricultural emissions of nitrous oxide, a key greenhouse gas.

Nitrous oxide is emitted when nitrogen fertilizer is applied to farm produce and is said to have a global warming effect 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

The Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences has developed a new type of wheat in collaboration with universities in Japan and overseas.

Researchers said that the new wheat could prevent components of nitrogen fertilizer from changing into nitrous oxide, with tests showing a 25 percent reduction in emissions.

They added that the new wheat can efficiently absorb fertilizer while maintaining the same productivity level as a conventional strain, even when using around 60 percent less fertilizer.

Group leader Yoshihashi Tadashi noted that it was important for the agricultural industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Meanwhile, researchers at Tohoku University and the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization have been developing bacteria that can change nitrous oxide emitted from soybean fields into harmless gas.

Researchers said they have managed to reduce emissions in fields by 30 percent during harvest time, a figure they were aiming to increase.