According to a report on Nitrogen Pollution and the European Environment (Science for Environment Policy - September 2013), it is important to consider Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE) in agriculture for the following reasons:
- Agriculture is a significant source of nitrogen pollution.
- There are major inefficiencies in agriculture’s use of nitrogen.
- Reactive nitrogen is central to agriculture and its efficient use will be of critical importance to ensuring food security in Europe andaround the world.
There is a desperate need for Nitrogen pollution control which largely results from excessive fertiliser application in agriculture. Nitrogen leached into the atmosphere and waterways can have serious detrimental environmental effects. Agricultural run-off into the earth’s oceans, soils and atmosphere have adversely affected the earth’s nitrogen balance. In the last 40 years the amount of fertilisers directly entering coastal waters has increased six fold due to the exponential growth of fertiliser use worldwide (Maranger et al. 2008³). We now have the situation today where Nitrogen overload is becoming an alarming global issue.
Nitrogen pollution has a significant impact on the environment:
- It creates of harmful algal blooms and dead zones in our waterways and oceans; the algae produce toxins which are harmful to human and aquatic organisms (and indirectly affects fisheries and biodiversity in coastal areas).
- Contamination of drinking water. 10 million people in Europe are potentially exposed to drinking water with nitrate concentrations above recommended levels. This can have an adverse effect on human health.
- Food Security: Excessive nitrogen fertiliser application contributes to soil nutrient depletion. As the world needs to feed an ever growing population loss of arable land is major global problem.
- The release of Nitrous Oxide is essentially a greenhouse gas which is harmful to the environment.
The N-Fix technology will reduce the global population’s dependence on nitrogen-based fertilisers resulting in a reduction in the amount of nitrogen leaching, eutrophication and water pollution.