Scientists at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research have found that the ability of soils to eliminate nitrous oxide, one of the principal greenhouse gases, can mainly be explained by the diversity and abundance of a new group of micro-organisms that are capable of transforming it into atmospheric nitrogen. The scientists were also able to identify several groups of micro-organisms that could act as bioindicators for the capacity of European soils to transform nitrous oxide into atmospheric nitrogen. 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. Researchers say these findings underline the importance of the biodiversity of soil micro-organisms to the functioning of soils and the services they deliver.
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