By AIT Public Affairs
29 June 2023 – Rice agriculture significantly contributes to climate change by releasing greenhouse gases (GHG) such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and primarily methane. GHG is the leading cause of global warming resulting in global Climate Change. With our global population hitting 10 billion people in 2050, rice agriculture needs further expansion to feed a growing global population, further accelerating climate change and putting the world at the mercy of its adverse effects.
It is, therefore, imperative to prioritize research to understand the primary sources of GHG emissions and develop strategies to mitigate their impact. One example is, implementing preventive climate-smart solutions for managing rice agriculture systems.
Recently, Dr. Simon Guerrero Cruz, Assistant Professor at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), in collaboration with Leiden University (The Netherlands) and Leipzig University (Germany), initiated a project titled “Greenhouse Gas Reduction in RICE: MICRO-biome climate smart applications.”
Highlighting the significance and goals of the project, Dr. Simon said: “This project focuses on using the native methane-munching microbial community of rice soils to mitigate GHG emissions in Thai paddy soils. Furthermore, it involves characterizing and enhancing plant-growth-promoting microorganisms to decrease fertilizer use and increase yield.”
To achieve those goals, the main objective of this research project is to develop a synthetic microbial community (SynCom) from the soils that:
● Enhances the consumption of methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), mitigating their emissions on site.
● Enhance the nitrogen-fixing capabilities of the soil to improve plant yield, facilitate sustainable fertilization practices, enhance soil health, and minimize the adverse effects of fertilization.
● Facilitate the growth of plant growth-promoting microorganisms to enhance rice plants’ overall health and productivity.
About Environmental Engineering and Management (EEM) Program
The Environmental Engineering and Management (EEM) program at AIT’s School of Environment Resources and Development; Department of Energy, Environment, and Climate Change is actively engaged in developing innovative solutions to address environmental challenges in two primary areas: Environmental Technology and Management (ETM) and Water and Wastewater Engineering (WWE).
ETM adopts a systems approach to environmental management, recognizing the interconnected roles of industry and government agencies. WWE emphasizes on training engineers specialized in planning, designing, operating, and managing water supply, wastewater treatment, and disposal systems.
The focus area of EEM is water security, wastewater to resources/energy; integrated air quality management; solid waste management and plastic abatement; hazardous waste management; circular and bio-based economy; sustainable sanitation systems; membrane technology; environmental quality and climate co-benefits; and environmental decentralization and pollution controls.