Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, NARO

imageThe Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, NARO (NIAES) is the core institute of the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) which emphasizes basic studies and research meant to ensure the safety of agricultural production environments. Research focuses on assessing risk in agricultural environments and developing risk management technologies, elucidating the structure of agricultural ecosystems in order to develop technologies to manage natural cycles, and fundamental studies to help elucidate the functions of agricultural ecosystems.


International Symposium on Nitrogen Cycling and Its Environmental Impacts in East Asia

The NARO-MARCO International Symposium on "Nitrogen Cycling and Its Environmental Impacts in East Asia" was organized by the Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, NARO (NIAES) at the International Congress Center (Epochal), Tsukuba on November 19-22, 2018. The symposium was aimed at addressing various issues associated with the excessive use of anthropogenic reactive nitrogen and the development of appropriate management systems in the East Asia region. The keynote speakers included Prof. Wilfried Winiwarter (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria), Prof. Xiaoyuan Yan (Nanjing Institute of Soil Science, China) and Prof. Timothy Jickells (University of East Anglia, UK). The symposium also included 20 oral presentations, poster sessions, and a scientific excursion on the 4th day. Symposium website here.

Tsukuba Chibikko Hakase 2018

The Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, NARO is organizing the following programs and events in conjunction with the Tsukuba Chibikko Hakase 2018: (1) Insect collection class, (2) Summer Open Day, (3) Let's look under the soil surface, (4) Soil and Insect Inventory Exhibition. Tsukuba Chibikko Hakase is a stamp-collecting rally where children visit research institutions, experience exhibitions and various events in each institute, and have a special passport stamped. Read more.

Simulation models for evaluation of optimal pesticide management strategy

Simulation models were used to evaluate whether the application of multiple pesticides within the generation or in alternating generations is the optimal management strategy to retard the appearance of insecticide-resistant insect pests. A series of simulations involving multiple insecticides, mating behavior of insect pest accompanying migration, and the timing of exposure to insecticides showed that application within generation is often more effective in delaying the development of resistance. Currently, verification experiments are being conducted to determine whether the simulation results are actually effective in the field. It is expected that this study will contribute to the usage standard of pesticides that delays longer and more effectively the resistance of insect pests to the existing or coming active components.Read more.

International Symposium on Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

The National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) and Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS) in collaboration with the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA) jointly organized an international symposium on "Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Mitigation" on August 31, 2017 at the Tsukuba International Congress Center. The symposium was organized in conjunction with the 2017 GRA Council meeting which will be held during August 29-30, 2017. The objectives included exchanging the status quo of problems and the latest results of studies on agricultural greenhouse gas emissions for mitigating climate change while sustaining production, in particular those in Asian countries and discussing the direction of future research and ways to strengthen collaboration to meet the challenges within the framework of the GRA. Symposium website here.

Stagnation of crop yields in response to climate change

The Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, NARO in collaboration with the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Science, and the National Institute for Environmental Studies, projected the impact of climate change on yield growth of major crops (maize, rice, wheat, soybean) considering technological improvement such as increased use of nitrogen fertilizer input and improved varieties as well as shifting sowing date. The estimated yield increase of maize and soybean is found to be stagnated even if the global mean temperature rise in the end of this century is less than 1.8°C. On the other hand, rice and wheat yields started to stagnate when the temperature rise exceeds 3.2oC. Results suggest that it is important to develop and diffuse more aggressive adaptation technology to maintain yield increase under future climate change. Read more.

Rice with reduced radiocesium uptake

The Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, NARO has succeeded in developing a mutant line of cultivar Koshihikari which hardly absorbs radioactive cesium by mutation using ion beam irradiation. The low-cesium rice mutant 1 (lcs1) line showed mutation in the protein kinase gene (OsSOS2) which is responsible for the salt tolerance of rice, and suppresses the cesium absorption. As a result, the radiocesium concentration in grain is about half that in the wild-type cultivar. This mutant line could be used directly in agriculture particularly in radiocesium-contaminated paddy fields for reducing radiocesium in rice grains. Read more.

Web accessible digital soil map of Japan is now open

The Institute for Agro-environmental Sciences, NARO (NIAES) has developed a digital soil map with a scale of 1:200,000 showing the classification and distribution of soils in agricultural and non-agricultural lands nationwide. The website which can be accessed online starting today also includes an agricultural land soil map with a scale of 1:50,000 targeted mainly for farmlands. All information can be accessed as open data and distributed free of charge in a standard file format that can be handled by secondary users. In addition to utilization for agriculture such as fertilizer crop management and water management, it is also expected to contribute to administrative measures concerning the environment. Read more.

An acid-tolerant ammonia-oxidizing γ-proteobacterium from soil

A new nitrifying bacteria was isolated from the soil in a tea plantation. This ammonia oxidizing bacteria (AOB) was presumed to contribute to nitrification in strongly acidic agricultural soil. Although the process of nitrification, the microbial oxidation of ammonia to nitrate via nitrite, occurs in a wide range of acidic soils, the AOB that have been isolated from soil so far are acid-sensitive. The research of Hayatsu et al. from the Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, NARO reported that the isolated AOB can grow in the pH range of 5-7.5 and survive in highly acidic conditions until pH 2 by forming cell aggregates. By clarifying the genetic and physiological properties of the AOB, it is expected that nitrification in acidic soil will be suppressed that will lead to the development of an efficient technology to reduce nitrogen fertilizer runoff caused by nitrification and reduce adverse effects on the environment. Read more.

Soil Carbon Sequestration: Needs and prospects under the 4 per 1000 initiative

The NARO-MARCO International Symposium under the theme "Soil Carbon Sequestration - Needs and prospects under the 4 per 1000 initiative" was held on February 28, 2017 at Tsukuba International Congress Center. The symposium aimed to provide a venue to enhance research, research cooperation, and collaboration on soil carbon and greenhouse gas mitigation in agricultural systems across Asian countries and beyond, in conjunction with the 4 per 1000 initiative. The keynote talk was given by Dr. Claire Chenu of the Agro Paris Tech/INRA in France. Other speakers include Dr. Minggang Xu (Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science), Dr. Suphakarn Luanmanee (Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Thailand), Dr. Cherukumalli Srinivasa Rao (Indian Council of Agricultural Research-Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture, India), Dr. Hideo Kubotera (Central Region Agricultural Research Center, NARO), Dr. Shoji Matsuura (Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, NARO), Dr. Yasuhito Shirato (Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, NARO), Dr. Jagadeesh Yeluripati (James Hutton Institute, UK), Dr. Akihiko Ito (National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan), and Dr. Mayumi Yoshimoto (Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, NARO). The symposium also aimed to establish a research network of long-term agricultural field experiments among Asian countries. Symposium website here.


The MARCO E-book, a collection of 15 selected reviews and research papers presented at the MARCO-FFTC Joint International Workshop held in Tsukuba, October 2013, entitled "Benefits and Risks of Genetically Modified Food Crops in Asia" is now available online. The E-book is a compilation of overviews and discussions about the development and cultivation of genetically modified crops with wide horizons as presented by researchers from Asia including India, Indonesia, Thailand, Pakistan, Philippines, Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan, as well as researchers from the Netherlands, USA and Australia. The E-book is available here.

Highlight on NIAES FACEing the Future

Free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE) is a unique experimental platform to investigate impacts of elevated CO2 concentration on vegetation and ecosystem under open-field conditions. In the Tsukuba FACE facility, we cultivate rice under the CO2 concentration expected approximately 50 years later. FACE website here.