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Students bridge science, policy to solve global challenges
January 21, 2016

By Seth Truscott, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

Rachel-Wieme-headPULLMAN, Wash. – Rachel Wieme has big ideas growing in a quinoa plot near Pullman. Her organic experiments hold the potential to improve soil and help feed the world. But it’s a long way from idea to impact.

Expert to discuss contemporary nitrogen challenges
October 21, 2009

PULLMAN – Paul Fixen, international soil fertility expert, will speak on agricultural science and policy to sustain a world of 9 billion people, with an emphasis on nitrogen. The seminar will be held Monday, Oct. 26 at 2:10 p.m. in Room T101 of the food science and nutrition building.


Nitrogen in commercial fertilizer accounts for approximately half of all nitrogen reaching global croplands today and supplies basic food needs for at least 40 percent of the world’s population. Fixen’s talk will focus on the challenges facing science and industry to continue to help meet that need while minimizing the risk of negative environmental impacts … » More …

Getting the fix on Nitrogen
October 22, 2008

Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for plant growth, but not all forms of nitrogen are usable by plants. Although Earth’s atmosphere is rich in nitrogen, the inert atmospheric gas is useless to most organisms.


Some plants, though, form symbiotic relationships with bacteria called rhizobia. In a complicated exchange of nutrients, rhizobia produce an abundance of nitrogen, making it available to the plant. Legumes, such as such as alfalfa, soybeans, chickpeas and lentils, are especially good at fixing nitrogen. Grown as cover crops in order to enrich soil, legumes are typically higher in protein than other crop plants, probably due to their symbiosis with … » More …

Huge discovery might change farming, protect environment
June 28, 2006

PULLMAN – Researchers at Washington State University and in the United Kingdom have announced a discovery that may someday allow the world’s farmers to decrease their dependence on nitrogen fertilizers, resulting in billions in savings to farmers and a reduction in the amount of nitrogen pollution that has already turned some waterways into dead zones.

Legumes, such as beans, peas, and alfalfa, host billions of bacteria in tiny nodules along their roots. The bacteria convert, or “fix,” atmospheric nitrogen into a form the plants can use. But in findings reported in the June 29 issue of the journal Nature, researchers from WSU and the John … » More …