Outline of Research Project
For the realization of direct air capture (DAC) agriculture, we aim to develop crop varieties with dramatically increased biomass production, focusing on three major crop species: rice, corn (maize), and sorghum. Genome-editing technology is used to modify genes for improving photosynthetic capacity in paddy rice. Hybrid vigor, resulting from hybridization with closely-related wild species, is used to increase biomass production in corn and sorghum. We also increase the below-ground biomass (roots and underground stems) of these crops, aiming to maximize the amount of carbon locked up in agricultural soils (carbon sequestration). In addition, we will evaluate the environmental and economic impact of crop biomass, from crop production through to utilization of new industrial products.
Our research program will achieve a new carbon-circulating economy that will make a major contribution to mitigating global warming by using the existing agricultural infrastructure for food production, securing supplies of biomass feedstocks, and creating a new carbon cycle system to sustain both decarbonization and food production.