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Less Climate-Damaging Nitrous Oxide

Jülich, 26 April 2019 – Human activity has a profound impact on Earth's nitrogen cycle, in particular due to fertilization in industrial agriculture. The ecological consequences include the release of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas whose effect is almost 300 times stronger than carbon dioxide and is highly destructive to the ozone layer. Nitrous oxide is produced by microorganisms that carry out key processes in the nitrogen cycle and are stimulated by the addition of fertilizers.

An international team of researchers, including Prof. Nicolas Brüggemann and Holger Wissel from Forschungszentrum Jülich’s Institute of Bio- and Geosciences – Agrosphere, has now established that the recently discovered comammox bacteria release much less nitrous oxide than other microbes – and could therefore be of great interest for more environmentally compatible agriculture. Their study has been published in the journal Nature Communications.

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