The zest of agricultural organizations has always been to increment yield out of the limited arable land. This has led to the usage of fertilizers, which may serve the purpose of protecting crops and substantially increasing production, its environmental implications are something that needs to be addressed. It must be noted that the creation of fertilizers is an energy sensitive process and causes emission of greenhouse gases, which is radically changing the environment.
Now, researchers from the Washington University have developed a bacteria that utilizes the concept of photosynthesis for the creation of oxygen both during the day and night. The bacteria uses nitrogen to develop chlorophyll for the process of photosynthesis and may turn into enabling plants to follow the suit, which in turn will eliminate the requirement of some or all human-made fertilizers.
This concept of plants producing their own fertilizers is expected to have phenomenal effect on both the agricultural industry as well as the health of our planet. When commercialized, farmers will be able to away with the requirement of spreading fertilizers, which often get washed away with rain water and winds as well as blocks sunlight. On the other hand, nitrogen is most abundant gas in our atmosphere and hence, this process of fixing nitrogen can be a huge step.
The researchers have found that although plants are unable to fix nitrogen on their own, the subset of cyanobacteria is capable of achieving this. The next step for the researchers is to explore deeper into the findings and may be pin point the exact subset of genes that is essential for nitrogen fixation.