Scientists from the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences and Colombia’s International Center for Tropical Agriculture say they have developed a new kind of grass species that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are caused by chemical fertilizers.
The new kind of grass developed by the Japanese and Colombian researchers releases substances that will not make the fertilizers turn into greenhouse gas. The nitrogen fertilizers, used by most farmers, turn into nitric acid, which then becomes nitrous oxide. This kind of gas actually has 300 times more warming power compared to that of carbon dioxide. The nitric acid also leaks easily from the farmlands and so pollutes the groundwater and the river. Aside from keeping the ocean ecosystems safer from the greenhouse emissions, the grass will also help the cows who eat the grass become more healthy.
During their research, the scientists discovered a species of grass called brachiaria which grows in Latin America and came from Africa. It releases substances that lessens the activities of microorganisms and cuts down on nitrous oxide emissions. Guntur Subarao, the senior researcher in the Japanese center based in Ibaraki Prefecture, said that this kind of grass can be used to develop more agricultural products to meet the demands of a growing global population while also cutting down on the use of nitrogen fertilizers. They have already started planting the grass in South America to check on its viability.
[ via Global Post ]