European scientists help find greenhouse gas clues
A discovery by a team including European scientists could lead to higher rice production and lower greenhouse gas levels. Scientists from Germany's Fraunhofer Institute, the Netherlands' Wageningen university and the International rice research institute from the Philippines found that plants which channel more carbon into production of flowers and grain put less of it in the ground, leading to higher yields and lower levels of greenhouse gases, particularly methane. Rice is an important illustration of how these findings could impact on the world. Around half of the world's population has rice as its staple crop. The means of growing it, rice paddy fields, account for around 10 per cent of global emissions of methane. Methane is the second most important greenhouse gas, responsible for around 20 per cent of global warming. One of the key areas to look into now is the need to develop more strains of high yield rice plants, as yields are now decreasing largely due to the higher temperatures associated with global warming. As yet, the experiments which led to these results have only been carried out in greenhouses and further research is needed to see if the same effect can be found in outdoors experiments.