HIdden atom reveals secret of turning nitrogen into fertilizer, nature's way
The root nodules of certain legume plants contain nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
Some blue-green algae and bacteria in bumps on legume roots quietly turn atmospheric nitrogen into useable fertilizer at below room temperature. (78% of the air we breathe is nitrogen). Meanwhile almost 5% of the world's natural gas is used when making farm fertilizers by the Haber process at high pressure and at temperatures hotter than a kitchen oven can give. Nature does the same trick using the enzyme nitrogenase which has about 37,000 atoms fitted together. One key atom hidden inside a nook of that molecule has eluded investigators. It is the key that fires up the whole process. Clever tests by two labs have found the mystery atom is one carbon. (Source: Science Daily) The road is now clear to plan natural synthesis of fertilizer at room temperature and pressure using the most common free gas on earth.