Nitrogen is lacking in fields, but grows in cities

English: Soybean field in the Proivince of Bue...

 Soybean field in  Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Nitrogen, one of the main nutrients for crop development, falls largely in the pampas region of argentina, while representing a growing factor of pollution in big cities.

The investigation, published in the journal Science, belong to a study conducted by researchers from the Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela and Mexico.

Nitrogen could show deficiencies in most of the pampas region of argentina in the coming decades, and that distinguishes it from the situation in the northern hemisphere.
“Unlike what is happening with agriculture in the northern hemisphere, some of the problems associated with the nitrogen in Latin America are not to do with pollution in the ground by this nutrient excess, but with the lack”, said Amy Austin, independent of the Conicet researcher.
The researcher pointed out that in the Argentina and Brazil, which together produce 40% of soybeans in the world, is given a case for the nitrogen cycle, because although soy cultivation has the ability to capture nitrogen from the air using biological fixation, this process fails to compensate for the losses generated by the export of grains.
In Argentina, the fall of the nutrient is larger than Brazil, since in the pampean region the good fertility of the soil prevents the stimulation of the nitrogen fixation.
“Producers do not add nitrogen fertilizer to soybeans and, as a result, more nitrogen that is set is exported. The result is deficit and why we are having a substantial leak of nitrogen in the majority of areas cultivated with soybeans,”said Austin.
In addition to the loss of the nutrient in the soil, as a result of the monoculture of soybean, agriculture has other problems associated with the nitrogen cycle that is progress.
“The expansion of the agricultural frontier makes every year burning about 150,000 km2 of forests in the region, generating a large transfer of nitrogen into the atmosphere, which is then deposited on the ground and impacts on ecosystems and human health,” said the specialist.
The study published in Science also focused on large cities in Latin America and in marginal populations where there are adequate health services and domestic waste waters are released into rivers without any treatment, causing a strong impact on biodiversity and public health.
But “the problem grows with the migration from the countryside to the city, as a result of the marginalization and poverty faced by many small farmers,” said the researcher.
In his opinion, one of the measures is urgent to stop the destruction of tropical ecosystems and thus slow the deforestation in the region.

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