Genetic Study of Soil Microbes May Offer Help for Climate Change

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In New Hampshire, scientists at the University of New Hampshire received $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to study the genetics side of how soil microorganisms use carbon. With a loss over the last 100 years or so of 25 to 50 percent of carbon in surface soils, which is now in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and contributing to climate change, looking at how we can genetically alter microbial processes to restore some of the soil carbon could offer some solutions. Serita Frey, professor of natural resources, told Fosters that “Soil microbes add 10 times more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than fossil fuel emissions on an annual basis”, which is why they hope to find microbial processes that can be integrated into soil management practices to help restore soil carbon.