According to the sources, it has been reported recently that the U of T Scarborough study have identified “superstar” varieties of rice that can reduce fertilizer loss and cut down on environmental pollution in the process. As per one of the study, authored by Herbert Kronzucker in collaboration with a team at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, it was looked at 19 varieties of rice to see which ones were more efficient by using nitrogen. In view of bucolic idea of agriculture that animals grazing or vast fields of majestic crops but the global reality is that it is one of the biggest drivers of environmental pollution and climate change, as narrated by Kronzucker. Further, the nitrogen content when applied as fertilizer is taken up inefficiently by most crops. While, in tropical rice fields, as much as 50 to 70 per cent can be lost. The problem is that nitrogen negatively impacts water quality by contaminating nearby watersheds or leaching into ground water.
Further, it has been noted that it is also a significant source of gases such as ammonia and nitrogen oxide, which are not only harmful to aquatic life but also a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. However, nitrogen is one of three main nutrients required for crops to grow and it also costs the most to produce, as revealed by Mr Kronzucker. It has also been stated that anything that we can do to reduce demand for nitrogen, both environmentally and for farmers in the developing world struggling to pay for it, is a significant contribution. Moreover, the study for the first time identified a novel class of chemicals produced and released by the roots of rice crops that directly influence the metabolism of soil microbes. It was also found that key microbial reactions that lead to an inefficiency in nitrogen capture can be significantly reduced in certain varieties of rice plants through the action of those specific chemicals released from root cells.
In this context, further, it has been described that going forward with the hope for this study, it is to inform rice-growing strategies throughout Asia. One option could be to provide farmers with government incentives like tax credits and to switch to a more nitrogen-friendly variety. Secondly, the outcome could be better breeding programs where even better species of crops can be produced. It has also been stressed that there is no reason a crop cannot result in less pollution while also saving farmers money; the two are not incompatible, as told by Kronzucker. Further, in case, if we can produce more responsible plants that do not waste fertilizer needlessly, everyone wins.