City boffins’ carbon discovery

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TINY organisms can help manage harmful greenhouse gas emissions, according to scientists at Edinburgh University.

Researchers have discovered how microbes can be used to turn carbon dioxide emissions into soil-enriching limestone, with the help of a type of tree that thrives in tropical areas.

Researchers have found that when the Iroko tree – a large hardwood tree from the west coast of tropical Africa – is grown in dry, acidic soil and treated with natural fungus and bacteria, not only does the tree flourish, it also produces the mineral limestone in the soil around its roots.

The discovery offers a novel way to lock carbon into the soil, keeping it out of the atmosphere and could lead to reforestation projects in tropical countries, helping reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The findings were the result of a three-year project involving researchers from Granada, Lausanne and Neuchatel, Delft University of Technology, and commercial partner Biomim-Greenloop.