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 emphasize 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.


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, 2014 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. For more details on the Tsukuba FACE facility click here.

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