Unlocking bacterial potential to reduce farmland N2O emissions

Hiis, E.G., Vick, S.H.W., Molstad, L., Røsdal, K., Jonassen, K.R., Winiwarter, W. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7131-1496, & Bakken, L.R. (2024). Unlocking bacterial potential to reduce farmland N2O emissions. Nature 10.1038/s41586-024-07464-3. (In Press)

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Farmed soils contribute substantially to global warming by emitting N2O (ref. 1), and mitigation has proved difficult2. Several microbial nitrogen transformations produce N2O, but the only biological sink for N2O is the enzyme NosZ, catalysing the reduction of N2O to N2 (ref. 3). Although strengthening the NosZ activity in soils would reduce N2O emissions, such bioengineering of the soil microbiota is considered challenging4,5. However, we have developed a technology to achieve this, using organic waste as a substrate and vector for N2O-respiring bacteria selected for their capacity to thrive in soil6-8. Here we have analysed the biokinetics of N2O reduction by our most promising N2O-respiring bacterium, Cloacibacterium sp. CB-01, its survival in soil and its effect on N2O emissions in field experiments. Fertilization with waste from biogas production, in which CB-01 had grown aerobically to about 6 × 109 cells per millilitre, reduced N2O emissions by 50-95%, depending on soil type. The strong and long-lasting effect of CB-01 is ascribed to its tenacity in soil, rather than its biokinetic parameters, which were inferior to those of other strains of N2O-respiring bacteria. Scaling our data up to the European level, we find that national anthropogenic N2O emissions could be reduced by 5-20%, and more if including other organic wastes. This opens an avenue for cost-effective reduction of N2O emissions for which other mitigation options are lacking at present.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE)
Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE) > Pollution Management (PM)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 31 May 2024 07:11
Last Modified: 31 May 2024 07:11
URI: https://pure.iiasa.ac.at/19758

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