MSU study finds artificial fertilizers throw off the nitrogen cycle

Mar 17, 2015

Credit WKAR file photo

Nitrogen plays an essential role in plant growth, but it’s a scarce resource in nature. Farmers used to have to use beans or legumes to fix the nutrient into their fields. But with the advent of artificial fertilizers, agriculture has been able to bypass that step and put the nitrogen directly into the soil. While this has allowed farmers to increase production of nutrient intensive crops like corn, it’s had some other, not so great, side effects.

New research from MSU suggests that artificial fertilizers could be throwing off the worldwide nitrogen cycle.

Current State speaks with Jen Lau, an Assistant Professor of Plant Biology at MSU.

This segment is supported by Michigan State University's Knight Center for Environmental Journalism. More news about the Great Lakes environment can be found at GreatLakesEcho.org and on Current State every Tuesday as part of our partnership.