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Carbon cycle [炭素循環]

posted Apr 19, 2013, 12:29 AM by Yoshitaka Uchida Hokudai   [ updated May 15, 2013, 6:08 PM ]
I guess most of you have heard of the fact that plants can use carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air to produce oxygen (O2). Human and other animal benefit from the activity of plants because we breathe O2 and produce CO2. This exchange of CO2 and O2 is very important for the earth to stay healthy. When plants are reduced from the earth surface, the balance changes and CO2 may increase in the atmosphere, causing the climate change.

              In our lab, we study this ‘carbon cycle’. The carbon cycle can be simplified as described above. However, the fact is that the carbon cycle is far more complicated than that. For example, did you know that soil respires too? Soils also produce CO2 just as we do. This is due to soil microorganisms or to plant roots. Soils store a lot of carbon in them and the amount of carbon in soils are much bigger than atmospheric CO2. Thus, by increasing soils’ power to store carbon, it may be possible to reduce CO2 in the air.

              Not much is known about how soil microbes store carbon in soils. We investigate the mechanisms by measuring CO2 emitted from the air, or by extracting carbon in soils.