In the era of the Kyoto Protocol, where polluters pay more environmentally friendly businesses and services for 'carbon credits', a group has been formed to ready the food industry to profit from the situation.

The Consortium for Agricultural Soils Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases groups nine US universities and several American government agencies to set out the financial benefits.

Since farm crops pull carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as part of photosynthesis, the consortium says the food industry will probably be a prime carbon credit seller.

Many large companies, including DuPont, Ford Motor Company and International Paper, have already promised to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and have joined an organisation called the Chicago Climate Exchange, which will eventually match these companies with carbon sequestrators such as the food industry.