Greenhouse gas reduction : Franco-Irish research is progressing
“Dr Bryan Griffiths, Teagasc soil biology specialist, and myself, Director of research of the laboratory Agro-ecology in INRA Dijon, obtained a Ulysses scheme in 2010. This was the first step towards a more extensive collaboration, within the compass of the European project EcoFinders.
Our teams from INRA and Teagasc are both working on nitrogen, one of the elements constituting the macromolecules essential to life on earth. Nitrogen exists in many different chemical forms, and the transformations between them are mainly controlled by micro-organisms. The nitrogen forms essential to plant growth have a limited availability in agro-ecosystems. With the increase of human activities linked to the use of fertilisers, nitrogen emissions into the environment have been increased three-fold in Europe. Amongst those, nitrous oxide (N20) emissions are particularly important, as this gas plays a significant role in the increase of the greenhouse effect and in the destruction of the stratospheric ozone layer. Our research looks into the identification of possibilities to orientate the activity of micro-organisms involved in the nitrogen cycle to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the loss of nitrogen.
The financing of a post-doctoral student (Dr Fiona Brennan) by the Embassy of France in Ireland, the Bourgogne region and Teagasc allowed us to highlight large differences between European soils in the way they act as sinks for greenhouse gas and they eliminate N20. This work of French, Irish and Swedish researchers published in Nature Climate Change show that this variability is linked to a new group of N2O-consuming micro-organisms. All these results underline the importance of microbial biodiversity to the functioning of soils and the services they deliver.
The team is currently working on identifying farming practices that could stimulate this new group of N2O-consuming micro-organisms, in order to ensure sustainable agricultural production.”
Jones C.M., Spor A., Brennan F.P, Breuil M.C., Bru D., Lemanceau P ., Griffiths B., Hallin S., Philippot L. 2014. “Recently identified microbial guild mediates soil N2O sink capacity.” Nature Climate Change. 4, 801–805 (2014) Un résumé de l’article est disponible en cliquant ici