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Marleen Nunez

Marleen Nunez
Harnessing Plants to Reduce Microbial Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Program Year: 
Klaus Nüsslein

Through the CAFE summer scholars program, I worked alongside Klaus Nüsslein and David Ahlberg to reduce greenhouse gas emissions via agricultural practices. My project focused on nitrous oxide emissions by microorganisms in soil. We experimented with natural and artificial inhibition of nitrification in microbes by planting sorghum (natural inhibitor) and spraying DMPP (artificial inhibitor) over our treatment plots, while growing corn as a baseline. Our treatments consisted of monocrop and intercrop, with and without DMPP. Gas chromatography was used to measure emissions within these plots. In addition, qPCR was used to investigate the abundance of a nitrification inhibition gene in both archaea and bacteria. During the summer, my skills expanded to include cloning, qPCR, DNA Extraction, and more.