Bamboo's Ability to Store Carbon Called Into Question

A small study of plants wrapped in plastic hints that bamboo may be less green than thought, although other experts remain skeptical.

For years people have promoted bamboo as an eco-friendly material for everything from countertops to chopsticks. The fast-growing plant has been thought to store up carbon from the atmosphere as it grows, trapping the greenhouse gas.

But scientists had never actually measured bamboo's storage ability. Now a study casts doubt on that process and even suggests that bamboo may be a carbon emitter. The researchers are quick to point out that their work was limited to only two plants grown over a short period of time, and that much more investigation is needed before bamboo's green cred can be rejected or reaffirmed. 

Bamboo is a fast-growing business, worth $27 billion in China alone, a figure that could rise to $48 billion by 2020. To better understand how the recent shift to cultivating and using more bamboo affects carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, scientists in India wrapped

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