A. Article summary

A.Article summary

Articletitle:The global population and growth in nitrogen cycle Articleauthor:Vaclav Smil

B.Important aspects

  • The traditional forms of farming were efficient in provision of nitrogen in the soil.

  • Advances in technology on agricultural practices cause restriction of nitrogen composition.

  • Nitrogen is a minor component of the living matter but essential in human and animal growth.

  • Nitrogen is essential in DNA, RNA, making protein and regulation of structural components of body cells.

  • The nitrogen composition is currently scarce due to increased population growth and modern agricultural food production methods.

  • The nitrogen fixation is important and can be done by the bacteria of genus Rhizobium, because it is scarce in the air for plant absorption from the soil.

  • The problem is mainly removal from the soil naturally and through growth of plants.

  • The traditional crops had higher nitrogen composition and supply, that is, 200 kg of nitrogen per hectare was sufficient for 15 people.

  • Conversely, use of synthetic fertilizer enhances increased food production and nitrogen composition in the soils for plants, animals and human beings.

  • Through technological innovations, there was increased production of ammonia as a process of nitrogen production for agricultural and economic purposes.

  • The use of synthetic fertilizer has increased nitrogen in human diet as it provides 40% of what is taken up by plants.

  • Use of synthetic fertilizer as a source of nitrogenhas demerits, which includes health problems such as some cancers and changes in climatic conditions.

  • The synthetic fertilizer act as source of nitrogen in the soil but its excessive use results to nitrous oxide in the atmosphere.

  • The excessive use of nitrogenous fertilizers causes eutrophication and acidification.

  • The main solutions for the excessive use of fertilizers require economic and technical solutions.

  • Genetic engineersshould to come up with a process that can create symbiotic Rhizobium bacterial to provide nitrogen in the soil.

C.Authors’ main points

Nitrogenis a main component for the plants, animals and human beings.Conversely, the rapid changes in global trends necessitates for thesupply of nitrogen in the soils. The traditional methods of farmingsuch as excessive use of human and animal wastes and use of greenmanure were an important source of nitrogen. Consequently,technological advancements lead to use of synthetic fertilizers forthe supply of scarce nitrogen in the soils. The nitrogen available inthe atmosphere is scarce and is not absorbed by plants in sufficientcomposition helpful to people and animals. The nitrogen has to besupplied in the soil through synthetic nitrogen fertilizer for cropand animal feeds production. However, nitrogen fertilizer isdestructive in one way or the other. For example, the excessive useresults to health problems, water pollution, acidification,eutrophication and destruction of ozone layer.

D.Personal thoughts about the article

Applicationof different methods of food production and synthesis of ammonia isof great benefit to raise the level of nitrogen in the body. However,there is need for better approaches and improved synthesis of ammoniaas devised by Bosch. Genetic engineering and scientist should givedirectives of the most appropriate approaches and strategies that canimprove nitrogen composition in the soil and air with minimalconsequences. Use of traditional farming methods is currentlydifficult due to increased population and reliance on highlighttechnological practices for higher yields.

E. Relation to class

Thearticle relates to the effects of technological and development onpopulation growth.

Thearticles highlight the effects of climatic changes and importance ofnitrogen for the living matter.

F.Discussion questions

Whatare the future consequences of the use of synthetic fertilizer to theenvironment and human being?

Whatare the most effective ways of monitoring the nitrogen composition inthe human body, animals, and plants? Are there any availablestrategies to monitor fertilizer in the soil?