b'INSIDERSTURF AND FORAGELets Grow Some Carbon into the SoilKLAUS K. NIELSENChief Scientific OfficerDLFIn forage and turf business there is a nota- growth of roots in perennial plants, whichroots emerges as a strategy with dual ble emphasis on reducing climate impact.proliferate more and extend deeper overadvantages: 1) Increased and more stable Most efforts and studies center on reducingtime. As decomposition processes dimin- carbon storage, and 2) improved water use Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, whereasish with soil depth, the release of plantefficiency, crucial for sustaining photosyn-until now the positive aspect of increasingcarbon as CO 2from deeper roots is signif- thesis during drought. carbon storage has not been in focus. Weicantly reduced. To address this, the RadiMax facility, need to put more light on the unique abilityMost studies have only focused on soilas described in previous Insiders, is being of plants to convert atmospheric CO 2intocarbon levels down to a depth of 30 cm.utilized. Additionally, it is being explored plant root structures and the vast storageAlthough this layer holds more than 25%how legumes, when combined with grasses, potential of soil for this carbon.of soil organic carbon (SOC) it may be lesscan provide nitrogen at deeper layers, sup-Within the top 3 meters of the Earthsimportant for future carbon storing. This isporting the microbe-driven conversion of soil lies a carbon pool of 2,500 gigatons (GT)attributed to two primary factors. Firstly,plant carbon to SOC. The widespread usethree times higher than the atmosphericSOC in this layer faces faster degrada- of clover-grass combinations in forage pro-pool. Annually, approximately 123 GT oftion due to forage crop rotation and turfduction is already established. The intro-atmospheric carbon is converted into plantreplacement. Secondly, after 50 years, theduction of MicroClover in turf swards biomass through photosynthesis. However,carbon build-up reaches a new equilibriumoffers a solution to replenish the carbon only 3 GT is stored as a stable carbon, withwhere SOC formation and degradationpools, that are currently at zero-equilib-the remainder being released as CO 2throughbalance out.rium under 30-50-year-old turfs. plant and microbial respiration.However, recent reports challengeConsidering the estimated 50 million It may not come as a surprise thatthis notion by proposing that stable SOChectares of managed turf globally, even a trees excel in building up soil carbon, butcan continue to build up in deeper layers.modest addition of these clovers to a lawn equally noteworthy is the fact that peren- Moreover, they suggest that presence ofmix could yield significant climate-altering nial grasses are nearly on par and signif- nitrogen (N), accessible to the microbeseffects. The call is to embrace more peren-icantly better than annual crops in thisconverting plant carbon to SOC, furthernials and legumes, reduce nitrogen usage, regard. This is attributed to the perpetualenhances this effect. Breeding for deeperand increase carbon storage. Lets go deep.PLANT BREEDING TECHNOLOGYWhich Genomic Tools Best Suit Your Program?ROBERTO SPADADirector of MarketingStandard BioToolsThe genomic tools at plant breeders fin- in-house via a cost-effective, user-friendlysize and the technology is fully automated, gertips today would be almost impossi- system?microfluidics helps minimize the costs of ble for breeders predecessors to imagine.Microfluidic chip-based genomics both material and labor while providing Genomic advancements are opening thegenomics on nanoscaleallows all thishighly reproducible data from robust instru-door to huge gains in crop yield, resourceand more.mentation. That press start and walk away use efficiency, pathogen resistance, stressWhereas conventional genomic tech- is arguably what researchers like very best tolerance and more. They also bring a newnologies are generally either multiplexedabout our technology. Our fully-contained challenge: if you are a plant breeder with(producing non-specific data from largesystem is easy enough for anyone to use, various genomic options available, hownumbers of grouped samples) or single- but puts genomics right into plant breed-do you choose which genomic tools mightplexed (producing high-resolution dataers hands, no sending away samples and best suit your needs? 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