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IFA Science Awards Winner
06 Mar 2017

Heitor Cantarella

Dr. Heitor Canteralla, the Director of the Soil and Environmental Resources Center of the Agronomic Institute of Campinas in Brazil was awarded the 2017 IFA Norman Borlaug for his cutting-edge work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with fertilizer use in the tropics.

Dr. Cantarella’s work has focused on minimising emissions of nitrous oxide during the production of key Brazilian crops such as citrus fruits and sugarcane for ethanol production. He is also one of the first scientists to assess the nitrous oxide emissions associated with the production of ethanol, the biofuel which now powers 40 percent of vehicles in Brazil.

His research showed that nitrous oxide emissions could be reduced by up to 95 percent, by applying urea fertilizer to sugarcane with compounds that slow down the conversion of ammonia to nitrate (known as nitrification inhibitors).

“Finding a way to make ethanol more sustainable through innovations in fertilizer has been my mission, and I am delighted it has been recognised with this prestigious prize,” he commented.