Establishment of Carbon Cultivation agriculture, forestry and fishery
To achieve carbon cycling through carbon cultivation, it is necessary to increase CO₂ fixation by agriculture and forestry. However, many conventional next-generation biomass production technologies impose new burdens on agricultural and forestry workers. Therefore, it is necessary to establish new biological productivity-enhancing technologies for carbon-based cultivation from the producer’s perspective (SDG 2.4) as an extension of the original agriculture and forestry industries, which produce food and timber.
Targeting rice, which has the largest cultivated area in Japan, East Asia, and Southeast Asia, creates varieties with high CO₂ fixation suitable for carbon arable farming. In addition, forests have extremely large and stable CO₂ sequestration capacity (SDG 15). Develop tree varieties that are early maturing, have high biomass production, and have high conversion efficiency through lignin modification. Microalgae exhibit high biomass productivity compared to terrestrial multicellular organisms. Develop microalgae that produce active ingredients such as oil and pharmaceuticals (SDG 14). Taking into consideration that conventional production technologies and equipment can be used in production sites, promote the development of sustainable carbon cultivation technologies that incorporate new water management systems, automated work robots, and other DX-based smart agriculture and forestry (SDGs 2.3, 8.3, 8.9), and target social implementation through field demonstrations.
Green carbon from terrestrial grasses
Rice is the most widely grown crop in Asian countries where rice is the staple food and produces the largest amount of biomass. It is also the crop for which the identification and functional elucidation of genes involved in important traits has been most advanced. Varieties with high yield and biomass production have been bred under chemical fertilizer-intensive conditions. Carbon cultivation requires the development of next-generation rice varieties that can be used for multiple purposes, such as hydrogen and other energy and biomaterials, etc. The Green Food System Strategy formulated in 2021 will be further developed to develop rice varieties that also target energy and material production. In addition, DX and smart cultivation management for labor reduction are needed.
Green carbon from terrestrial woods
Forests have an extremely large and stable CO₂ storage capacity. However, while the area of planted forests is on the rise, natural forests continue to decline. To curb illegal logging and promote stable wood use, proper management of planted forests through mechanization and DX and efficient biomass production and use of wood is important. There is a need to develop recycling-oriented smart agroforestry technology for sustainable production of crops and trees by circulating resources such as nitrogen and phosphorus in agricultural lands using abandoned fields.
As a maritime nation, Japan can consider utilizing its extensive outer exclusive economic zones and develop them as marine plots along with the surrounding environment like arable land, which can be used as a place for the cultivation of fishery resources. In particular, seaweeds, seagrasses, and microalgae living in the aquatic environment have higher CO₂ fixation capacity and biomass production capacity than terrestrial plants. The objective of this research project is to develop sustainable carbon cultivation technologies that maximize the CO₂ utilization characteristics of terrestrial and marine organisms. We will develop carbon cultivation systems by understanding biomass production, cascade utilization of biomass, and integrated terrestrial/oceanic material cycles, and by constructing a scheme for their utilization.