i am a President’s Ph.D. Scholar at royal College London. My research study looks at just how drilling because that shale gas (natural gas trapped within shale rock) influence both human being health and also the environment. I am likewise the co-Founder and also co-Director the the Amir D. Aczel foundation for Research and also Education in Science and Mathematics, which functions to encourage young students in Cambodia to study science and math. Ns was born on planet Day, so naturally I love being outside and also look for any kind of excuse to invest time with pets of all shapes and also sizes! *miriam.aczel14

Young Reviewers


Age: 14

My name is Juliette and I to be a climbing freshman. I learned exactly how to play chess at an early age and also I have been playing and also competing due to the fact that then. I also love to play tennis. In addition to English, i speak Spanish and also Mandarin. At home, I have actually a hamster named Pumbaa, in reference to the warthog in Lion King.


Age: 15

ns go to high school in new York, where I invest my time writing poetry and playing the piano.



Nitrogen, the many abundant aspect in our atmosphere, is an essential to life. Nitrogen is uncovered in soils and also plants, in the water we drink, and in the air we breathe. It is additionally essential to life: a key building block of DNA, which determines our genetics, is important to tree growth, and also therefore crucial for the food us grow. But similar to everything, balance is key: too tiny nitrogen and plants cannot thrive, bring about low chop yields; but too lot nitrogen deserve to be toxic to plants, and also can likewise harm our environment. Plants that execute not have enough nitrogen end up being yellowish and also do not prosper well and also can have actually smaller flowers and fruits. Farmers can include nitrogen fertilizer to produce better crops, however too much deserve to hurt plants and also animals, and pollute ours aquatic systems. Understanding the Nitrogen Cycle—how nitrogen moves from the environment to earth, v soils and back to the atmosphere in an endless Cycle—can assist us flourish healthy crops and also protect ours environment.

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Nitrogen, or N, utilizing its scientific abbreviation, is a colorless, odorless element. Nitrogen is in the soil under ours feet, in the water us drink, and also in the air we breathe. In fact, nitrogen is the most abundant facet in Earth’s atmosphere: about 78% of the setting is nitrogen! Nitrogen is essential to every living things, including us. It plays a crucial role in plant growth: too little nitrogen and also plants can not thrive, causing low chop yields; however too much nitrogen can be toxicity to tree <1>. Nitrogen is vital for our food supply, yet excess nitrogen can harm the environment.

Why Is Nitrogen Important?

The delicate balance that substances that is essential for keeping life is vital area the research, and also the balance of nitrogen in the atmosphere is no exception <2>. Once plants lack nitrogen, they end up being yellowed, with stunted growth, and also produce smaller sized fruits and flowers. Farmer may include fertilizers comprise nitrogen to their crops, come increase crop growth. There is no nitrogen fertilizers, scientists estimate that we would lose up come one 3rd of the plants we rely on because that food and other species of agriculture. However we should know just how much nitrogen is vital for plant growth, since too much deserve to pollute waterways, hurting aquatic life.

Nitrogen Is an essential to Life!

Nitrogen is a an essential element in the nucleic acids DNA and also RNA, which are the most vital of all organic molecules and critical for all living things. DNA tote the hereditary information, which means the indict for exactly how to comprise a life form. As soon as plants carry out not get sufficient nitrogen, they space unable to create amino acids (substances the contain nitrogen and hydrogen and make up plenty of of life cells, muscles and tissue). There is no amino acids, plants cannot make the distinct proteins that the plant cells should grow. Without sufficient nitrogen, plant growth is affected negatively. Through too lot nitrogen, plants develop excess biomass, or essential matter, such as stalks and leaves, however not sufficient root structure. In extreme cases, plants with an extremely high levels of nitrogen took in from soils have the right to poison farm pets that eat lock <3>.

What Is Eutrophication and can It be Prevented?

Excess nitrogen can additionally leach—or drain—from the soil into underground water sources, or it can enter aquatic equipment as over ground runoff. This overabundance nitrogen can build up, resulting in a process called eutrophication. Eutrophication happens once too much nitrogen enriches the water, causing excessive growth of plants and also algae. Too lot nitrogen can even reason a lake to turn bright environment-friendly or other colors, with a “bloom” of smelly algae called phytoplankton (see number 1)! once the phytoplankton dies, microbes in the water decompose them. The procedure of decomposition to reduce the quantity of liquified oxygen in the water, and can bring about a “dead zone” the does not have sufficient oxygen come support many life forms. Organisms in the dead zone die from absence of oxygen. This dead area can happen in freshwater lakes and additionally in seaside environments where rivers complete of nutrients from agricultural runoff (fertilizer overflow) flow into oceans <4>.

Figure 1 - Eutrophication in ~ a rubbish water outlet in the grape max River, Washington, D.C.

Figure 2 mirrors the step of Eutrophication (open accessibility Wikimedia Commons image from https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Eutrophicationmodel.svg).

Figure 2 - step of eutrophication.(1) overabundance nutrients finish up in the soil and ground. (2) some nutrients end up being dissolved in water and leach or leak into deeper floor layers. Eventually, they obtain drained into a water body, such as a lake or pond. (3) part nutrients operation off from over the soils and ground straight into the water. (4) The extra nutrients cause algae to bloom. (5) sunlight becomes clogged by the algae. (6) Photosynthesis and growth of plants under the water will certainly be dilute or potentially stopped. (7) Next, the algae bloom dies and also falls to the bottom the the water body. Then, bacteria start to decompose or break up the remains, and use increase oxygen in the process. (8) The decomposition procedure causes the water come have decreased oxygen, causing “dead zones.” bigger life develops like fish cannot breathe and die. The water body has actually now undergone eutrophication.

Can eutrophication be prevented? Yes! world who regulate water resources can use various strategies to reduce the harmful effects of algal blooms and eutrophication of water surfaces. They can re-reroute excess nutrient away native lakes and vulnerable costal zones, use herbicides (chemicals offered to kill unwanted plant growth) or algaecides (chemicals offered to kill algae) to avoid the algal blooms, and reduce the amounts or combinations of nutrients supplied in farming fertilizers, amongst other methods <5>. But, it can often be tough to find the beginning of the overfill nitrogen and other nutrients.

Once a lake has actually undergone eutrophication, that is even harder to do damage control. Algaecides have the right to be expensive, and they additionally do no correct the resource of the problem: the excess nitrogen or other nutrients that caused the birds bloom in the an initial place! an additional potential equipment is dubbed bioremediation, i m sorry is the process of purposefully an altering the food internet in an aquatic ecosystem to minimize or regulate the quantity of phytoplankton. Because that example, water managers deserve to introduce organisms the eat phytoplankton, and these biology can help reduce the amounts of phytoplankton, by eating them!

What specifically Is the Nitrogen Cycle?

The nitrogen bike is a repeating cycle of processes throughout which nitrogen moves through both living and also non-living things: the atmosphere, soil, water, plants, animals and bacteria. In bespeak to move through the different parts that the cycle, nitrogen must readjust forms. In the atmosphere, nitrogen exists as a gas (N2), yet in the soils it exists as nitrogen oxide, NO, and also nitrogen dioxide, NO2, and also when used as a fertilizer, have the right to be found in other forms, such as ammonia, NH3, which can be processed even further into a different fertilizer, ammonium nitrate, or NH4NO3.

There are 5 stages in the nitrogen cycle, and we will certainly now discuss each of castle in turn: continuous or volatilization, mineralization, nitrification, immobilization, and denitrification. In this image, microbes in the soil revolve nitrogen gas (N2) right into what is referred to as volatile ammonia (NH3), so the fixation process is referred to as volatilization. Leaching is where specific forms that nitrogen (such as nitrate, or NO3) becomes liquified in water and leaks out of the soil, perhaps polluting waterways.

Stage 1: Nitrogen Fixation

In this stage, nitrogen move from the atmosphere into the soil. Earth’s atmosphere has a substantial pool the nitrogen gas (N2). However this nitrogen is “unavailable” to plants, since the gaseous form cannot be used directly by tree without experience a transformation. To be offered by plants, the N2 need to be revolutionized through a process called nitrogen fixation. Fixation counter nitrogen in the atmosphere into forms that plants have the right to absorb through their source systems.

A tiny amount that nitrogen can be fixed once lightning provides the energy needed because that N2 come react v oxygen, developing nitrogen oxide, NO, and also nitrogen dioxide, NO2. These forms of nitrogen then go into soils v rain or snow. Nitrogen can likewise be addressed through the industrial process that create fertilizer. This kind of solving occurs under high heat and pressure, throughout which atmospheric nitrogen and also hydrogen are an unified to form ammonia (NH3), which may then be handle further, to develop ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3), a form of nitrogen that deserve to be added to soils and also used by plants.

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Most nitrogen fixation wake up naturally, in the soil, by bacteria. In number 3 (above), you can see nitrogen fixation and also exchange of form occurring in the soil. Some bacteria attach to tree roots and also have a symbiotic (beneficial because that both the plant and also the bacteria) connection with the plant <6>. The bacteria get power through photosynthesis and, in return, they fix nitrogen right into a kind the tree needs. The fixed nitrogen is then brought to various other parts of the plant and is provided to kind plant tissues, so the plant deserve to grow. Other bacteria live easily in soils or water and can resolve nitrogen without this symbiotic relationship. This bacteria can additionally create creates of nitrogen that deserve to be supplied by organisms.