A Nitrogen Fixation

Nitrogen CycleWe return for November with a new Brian Thomas Creation Science Update, titled Newfound Nitrogen Harmony Saves Tropical Forest Trees. It is not a promising sign.

As should really be common knowledge, there’s no shortage of nitrogen in the atmosphere. This is, however, in the form of plain old N₂, which while it contains the right element is not very useful for life on Earth. This makes usable – “fixed” – nitrogen a major limiting factor for plant growth. Humans can fix nitrogen for fertiliser directly from the atmosphere via industrial-scale processes which aren’t readily available to the biosphere at large, but other sources do exist. Lightning, for example, is supposed to fix nitrogen into NO₂, but this probably isn’t an approach you can rely upon on the long term. Animals seem to have no difficulty in obtaining nitrogen for themselves – i.e. by eating other organisms – and in an unusual reversal of roles certain plants and fungi will actively capture and kill (small) animals for their nitrogen and other nutrients. Continue reading