Microorganisms and climate change: terrestrial feedbacks and mitigation options

Brajesh K. Singh*, Richard D. Bardgett, Pete Smith, Dave S. Reay

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

780 Citations (Scopus)


Microbial processes have a central role in the global fluxes of the key biogenic greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) and are likely to respond rapidly to climate change. Whether changes in microbial processes lead to a net positive or negative feedback for greenhouse gas emissions is unclear. To improve the prediction of climate models, it is important to understand the mechanisms by which microorganisms regulate terrestrial greenhouse gas flux. This involves consideration of the complex interactions that occur between microorganisms and other biotic and abiotic factors. The potential to mitigate climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions through managing terrestrial microbial processes is a tantalizing prospect for the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)779-790
Number of pages12
JournalNature Reviews Microbiology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010


  • elevated atmospheric CO2
  • carbon-dioxide enrichment
  • land-use change
  • methane-oxidizing bacteria
  • microbial community composition
  • soil organic-carbon
  • forest soil
  • methanotrophic bacteria
  • global change
  • temperature sensitivity


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