Nitrous oxide (N2
O) is a potent greenhouse gas (GHG). Although it comprises only 0.03% of total GHGs produced, N2
O makes a marked contribution to global warming. Much of the N2
O in the atmosphere issues from incomplete bacterial denitrification processes acting on high levels of nitrogen (N) in the soil due to fertilizer usage. Using less fertilizer is the obvious solution for denitrification mitigation, but there is a significant drawback (especially where not enough N is available for the crop via N deposition, irrigation water, mineral soil N, or mineralization of organic matter): some crops require high-N fertilizer to produce the yields necessary to help feed the world’s increasing population. Alternatives for denitrification have considerable caveats. The long-standing promise of genetic modification for N fixation may be expanded now to enhance dissimilatory denitrification via genetic engineering. Biotechnology may solve what is thought to be a pivotal environmental challenge of the 21st century, reducing GHGs. Current approaches towards N2
O mitigation are examined here, revealing an innovative solution for producing staple crops that can ‘crack’ N2
O. The transfer of the bacterial nitrous oxide reductase gene (nosZ
) into plants may herald the development of plants that express the nitrous oxide reductase enzyme (N2
OR). This tactic would parallel the precedents of using the molecular toolkit innately offered by the soil microflora to reduce the environmental footprint of agriculture.