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Nitrogen fixing bacteria for everything?

Posted by Karlieb 6b SEKansas (My Page) on
Sat, Jul 27, 13 at 12:08

Apologies if this has been discussed before.

A scientist seems to have discovered nitrogen-fixing bacteria for everything. I wonder if this will be available for gardeners.

And I also kind of wonder if it will end up changing our atmosphere.

Here is a link that might be useful: World-Changing Technology Enables Crops to Take Nitrogen from the Air


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RE: Nitrogen fixing bacteria for everything?

It is an interesting concept, but I have a lot of questions and doubts about it in my mind. I hope it works out the way they want and that it is helpful and not harmful. You know, GMO crops infused with Bt sound good to some people----for example, who wouldn't want to grow corn that repels o rkills corn earworms and European corn borers on its own? Sounds great,huh? However, I cannot help thinking Bt corn is a large part of the reason that the butterfly populations are in so much trouble. Sometimes these technological advances that sound so promising can end up having side effects that make me wonder if we would have been better off without them all along.

As the article mentioned, there's already various innoculants you can buy and use to coat seeds before you plant them in order to help the plants fix nitrogen, although they are only available for legumes. I usually innoculate my bean seeds before planting them. For years and years you had to order the innoculants, but now I see them on the shelves in spring right there with the seeds. That's an improvement.

If this scientist's nitrogen-fixing bacteria ever hit the market, I feel like it will be something that commercial farmers would find cost-effective to use, but I'm not sure the average gardener would find it worthwhile. At the home-garden level, healthy soil that's well-amended with lots of compost and other organic amendments will feed plants just fine without us spending a lot of money for fertilizers or nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

I do think that anything that would stop commercial farmers from feeding their plants very high-nitrogen fertilizers would be good. You know the kind of nitrogen over-feeding I'm talking about if you live in a farming area where fields are an incredible and unnatural green because they've been fed with stuff like anhydrous ammonia.


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