Tuesday, January 10, 2012

we need to talk about nitrogen

I have often mentioned in my various writings that the Haber-Bosch process produces as much reactive nitrogen as the natural nitrogen fixation, and that half of the world population's N content comes out of this synthesis. Yet I didn't really know anything about the ecological impact that doubling the global nitrogen turnover produces. I recently found out that it is a very complex biogeochemical network we're messing with, and we don't nearly understand what the consequences may be.

In an attempt to understand this issue a bit better, I have written a feature article about it, which is out in Current Biology today, and, I'm pleased to report, freely accessible to all:

We need to talk about nitrogen
Current Biology Vol 22, No 1, R1-R4

Photo: A 1921 vintage reactor from a Haber Bosch plant, now on display at the University of Karlsruhe. Source: Wikipedia

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