SOURCE: Vision Media

Vision Media

February 03, 2010 03:05 ET

Life and Health: Explores Organic Soil vs. Synthetic Nitrogen Soil

One Century After the Introduction of Artificial Nitrogen Soil Fertilizers, Some Environmentalists Are Calling for the Return of Organic Soil Amendments

PASADENA, CA--(Marketwire - February 3, 2010) - In a special report titled "The Dirt on Soil," explores the issues surrounding nitrogen, soil amendments, crop rotation, and organic soil. Nitrogen is essential for life, but excess nitrogen runoff pollutes our rivers and our oceans, creating health hazards for aquatic life and human life alike. In a new life and health article titled, "Drowning in Excess Nitrogen," editor Alice Abler shows how excess nitrogen in our water is affecting us worldwide.

Nitrogen is one of the most important plant foods, and proper nitrogen soil balance determines both the quality and quantity of protein stored in a plant. In "Feeding Our Nitrogen Addiction," Abler asks, "Are ideas of growing and eating foods that are organic so ill-conceived? Are natural and synthetic nitrogen sources equally effective? And are there benefits to eating produce grown in organic soil?"

To fix our nitrogen addiction, some experts are introducing new ideas, such as reclaiming organic soil, crop rotation and letting the land rest. But are these really new ideas? Or are the principles of land rest and crop rotation actually found in some of the world's oldest literature?

In an article titled "Our Growing Nitrogen Addiction," Abler explores the science advocating a return to organic soil amendments, proper use of synthetic nitrogen soil additives, crop rotation and simply letting the land rest.

As part of their special report,'s science and environment editor, Dan Cloer, interviews Paul Ehrlich, whose dire predictions about overpopulation and world famine were foiled through increased crop yields made possible through the use of synthetic nitrogen. Soils worldwide are now paying the price, as the overuse of synthetic fertilizers is leaving the formerly glowing reports about synthetic nitrogen soiled and tarnished.

Thanks to Fritz Haber's discovery -- synthetic nitrogen -- soil around the world was suddenly able to yield more and more food for a burgeoning global population. But, as Abler points out in "Fritz Haber: Plowshares and Swords," plowshares turn into swords when knowledge used for good becomes knowledge used for evil. Where do we find the balance? These timely topics -- organic soil vs. synthetic nitrogen soil and their long-term effects -- are explored in's special report, "The Dirt on Soil."

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