Microbial carbon sequestration is one of the most important scientific endeavours of the 21st century. It promises an elegant solution for two of our greatest challenges: climate change induced by the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, and the decrease of fertility and resilience in the world's agricultural soils.
A pathway from sky to soil
Compared with other carbon sequestration mechanisms, microbial processes are by far the most efficient way of capturing carbon. There is no requirement for additional equipment, land or energy for the sequestration process.
Farming for soil health
Today's methods of agricultural soil management can dramatically influence soil organic carbon (SOC) but with unpredictable outcomes. This is mainly due to varied rates of decomposition and respiration of a substantial portion of root exudate and soil material releasing it back to the atmosphere as CO2.
Supporting the crops
Microbes that live within plant tissues for at least part of their life cycles are called endophytes. Groups of these microbes, like nitrogen-fixing bacteria and mycorrhizal fungi, have long been known to benefit plant growth. Other endophytes living in plant tissues have been shown to increase fertility, promote plant growth and give protection against stresses such as disease, drought and high temperatures.
Long-term stable carbon storage
Plants take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and create simple sugars in the soil, known as labile carbon compounds. Some endophytic fungi, including melanised fungi, feed on these sugars and convert them into stable carbon, like melanin. These complex carbon compounds are longer-lasting, and resistant to being broken down in the soil. Research shows this carbon is deposited in tiny compressed particles of soil called soil micro-aggregates. These micro-aggregates provide a stable home, where carbon can be stored for the long-term.
We are working to draw down vast amounts of CO2 and create stable carbon in the soil. We utilise plants’ natural ability to convert CO2 into simple sugars, which our technology converts into stable forms of carbon. The opportunity to address climate change, restore the world’s agricultural soils, and turn carbon into an asset lies just below our feet.