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How synthetic biology can cut nitrogen pollution and help reverse climate change

| | March 29, 2019

So began the conversation among Degnarain, Pivot Bio’s Karsten Temme, and SynBioBeta’s John Cumbers…during the World Agritech Summit in San Francisco….In particular, the question posed was: How can we use synthetic biology to reduce or even reverse the negative impacts of today’s agriculture on climate change?

At the heart of the question is nitrogen, an essential nutrient for plants to grow….About half of the nitrogen is lost during fertilization….it feeds algae that in turn overpopulate and suffocate the natural environment. Perhaps worse is the invisible nitrous oxide gas that synthetic fertilizer releases, which is 300 times worse than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.

Related article:  'Land sparing' or 'land sharing'? More intensive agriculture better helps farmers fight climate change

Enter Pivot Bio. Using a microbe already found in nature, they altered its existing genes to reactivate a dormant biological pathway. That pathway enables the microbe to pull nitrogen straight out of the air.

Read full, original article: How agritech will slow or even reverse climate change

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