Mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural lands by
optimizing nitrogen and carbon cycles
We aim to develop innovative technologies to mitigate greenhouse gases from agricultural soil by 2030, and to achieve an 80% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural soil by 2050, as a part of Moonshot Goal 4 ‘Cool Earth’ and ‘Clean Earth’. Nitrous oxide (N₂O) is a powerful greenhouse gas with a global warming potential of 265. Agriculture accounts for 59% of global anthropogenic N₂O emissions. Paddy rice fields are also a source of methane (CH₄) emissions, accounting for 11% of the global anthropogenic CH₄ emissions. Thus, it is essential to mitigation of greenhouse gases from agriculture. In the natural nitrogen cycle, atmospheric nitrogen gas (N₂) is fixed by microorganisms and converted into reactive nitrogen such as ammonia and nitrate. Reactive nitrogen circulates the ecosystem and eventually return to the atmosphere as nitrogen gas (N₂). Although modern agriculture has succeeded to increase food production using chemical nitrogen fertilizers, N₂O emission from agricultural soil is increasing rapidly. In this research project, we will develop mitigation technologies by using soil microorganisms regarding nitrogen and carbon cycles.
We found that some rhizobia can reduce N₂O to N₂. Also, methanotrophs are known to oxidize CH₄ to CO₂. We will maximize such microbial processes at the field scale. However, the biggest challenge is that artificially inoculated microorganisms are usually eliminated due to the robustness of the soil ecosystem. Therefore, by integrating the latest research methods and young researchers in different disciplines, we unveil the whole pictures of soil microorganism world and reorganize plant-microbe relationships in order to achieve our goal.
The Moonshot Research and Development Program
The Moonshot Research and Development Program is a national project led by the Cabinet Office of Japan to promote challenging research and development on critical social issues, such as the super-aging society and global warming, by setting ambitious and captivating goals (Moonshot Goals).