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Calcium silicate can potentially reduce methane emission, a study conducted by Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) showed.

The study titled, Effect of silicate fertilizer application on methane emission from rice, showed that applying calcium silicate slag significantly reduced methane emission by 17-22 percent owing to the release of active iron oxide, a source of electron acceptor.

Led by Dr. Constancio Asis Jr, the study was adjudged best poster during the recent First National Conference on Research in Climate Change and Variability held at the Traders Hotel Manila, Pasay City.

Asis compared the effect of applying different sources of silicon (Si) including carbonized rice hull (CRH), carbonized sugarcane trash, and calcium silicate on methane emission from rice. Studies have shown that Si can substantially increase tolerance of rice to environmental stresses and aid its growth.

While calcium silicate has reduced methane emission, CRH, despite having high amount of carbon, neither contributed to the concentration of methane in the atmosphere nor significantly decreased emission.

Irrigated lowland rice fields are major sources of methane owing to anaerobic decomposition of organic matter.

When methane is released into the atmosphere, it traps significant amount of heat that would otherwise escape to space  – a process called “greenhouse effect.”

“Methane absorbs heat 21 times more than carbon dioxide and it has 9-15 year life time in the atmosphere over a 100-year period,” Asis explained.

Asis is a recipient of the 2011 Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellowship Award. Its Global Research Alliance Program on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases funded this study.

The conference was organized by the National Academy of Science and Technology, an organization that recognize outstanding achievements in science and technology in the country.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is a government corporate entity attached to the Department of Agriculture created through Executive Order 1061 on 5 November 1985 (as amended) to help develop high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute