recommended reading

Scientists Are Scouring the Globe for Mystery Bacteria to Help Reduce Our Dependence on Fertilizer

Researchers from Michigan State University and Imperial College London have just received $1.87 million in funding to conduct a treasure hunt. It will take them from Germany to Hawaii in the US and elsewhere, in search of the smallest needle—a particular type of bacteria—in a haystack the size of the globe. If it pays off, it could contribute to lowering the world’s reliance on toxic—and expensive—fertilizer, replacing it with bacteria.

Making fertilizer is dangerous as April’s explosion at a factory in West, Texas demonstrated. And its use is catastrophic for the environment for reasons ranging from increased methane emissions to run-off contaminating water supplies. The bacteria project is one of three being funded by the US National Science Foundation and Britain’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. With a total of $8.86 million of funding, the groups are hoping the three projects will boost crop yields while reducing the need for fertilizers. At the root of all three projects is the process of “fixing” nitrogen, or converting it to ammonia, a compound that helps plants grow. There is plenty of nitrogen in the atmosphere but it doesn’t convert into ammonia in an oxygen-rich environment like ours.

Read more at Quartz

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.