Development of planet-friendly agricultural production system using biological nitrification inhibition (BNI) technology

Related Research Program



Modern agriculture strongly relies on applications of large amounts of industrially produced nitrogen fertilizer. However, 50-70% of nitrogen fertilizer cannot be used by crops. The excess applied nitrogen is converted to nitrate through nitrification by soil microorganisms, then leaches into groundwater as a pollutant. It is also converted into nitrous oxide, 298 times more potent greenhouse gas than CO2, which causes global warming and climate change. Therefore, the technology that can maintain crop production while reducing the environmental impact of nitrogen fertilization, which far exceeds the processing capacity of the global ecosystem, is needed. Biological nitrification inhibition (BNI) technology developed by JIRCAS can improve crop productivity by using the crop’s capacity to suppress soil nitrification and improve the efficiency of nitrogen cycling in agriculture. Through the BNI International Consortium, JIRCAS is leading the world's BNI research.


To solve environmental problems such as nitrate pollution and nitrous oxide emissions from farmland by improving nitrogen use efficiency, our activities through the BNI International Consortium to produce locally adapted varieties of upland crops with enhanced BNI capacity and develop technologies such as crop rotation systems using BNI will be conducted.

Research Themes

  • Development of BNI-enabled crops and BNI-based production systems
  • Elucidation of the factors to establish novel sustainable food systems with BNI
  • Leading the BNI International Consortium through BNI research and promotion of international collaborative research on BNI

Target Countries

Mexico, India, Colombia, developed countries

Target Beneficiaries

Researchers and producers of field crops such as wheat, maize, sorghum, and Brachiaria pasture, and related stakeholders in the food value chain 

Project Leader

YOSHIHASHI Tadashi (Biological Resources and Post-harvest Division)



PNAS Released BNI-enhanced Wheat Research Video Intro Prior to Best Paper Award Ceremony

In March 2022, the BNI-enhanced wheat research was awarded the Cozzarelli Prize for the best paper in 2021 by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). A video intro highlighting the results of this work has now been published on the PNAS YouTube channel.

Senior Researcher G.V. Subbarao Presents BNI Research at TED2022

Senior Researcher, Dr. Guntur V. Subbarao, gave a TED Talk of the JIRCAS research on biological nitrification inhibition (BNI) at TED2022: A NEW ERA held in Vancouver, Canada from April 10 to 14, 2022.

Two JIRCAS Projects Under SATREPS Officially Start Joint Research Collaboration

Two JIRCAS research projects adopted in FY2021 under the Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS) program jointly implemented by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) have been approved by the partner countries and will now officially start joint research, replacing the previous conditional collaboration.

Press Release