Danforth Plant Science Center opens SINC


Danforth Plant Science Center opens SINC

Danforth Plant Science Center researchers in St. Louis are working on developing alternatives to synthetic nitrogen fertilizer to reduce greenhouse gas emissions without reducing crop yields. They’re targeting plant and soil microbe interactions.

The goal of the Subterranean Influences on Nitrogen and Carbon (SINC) Center is to develop technologies to track the flow of nitrogen and carbon across plant roots, discovering new beneficial microbes, and understanding the genetic mechanisms that influence those interactions.

The new center wants to decrease the use of nitrogen fertilizer by 12% while maintaining crop productivity – saying that’s equivalent to removing 10 million cars off the road.

Director Rebecca Bart says nitrous oxide released from ag fields is a greenhouse gas that is 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide. She says, “excess nitrogen applied to fields also pollutes the environment through runoff into waterways and oceans.”