“Air Feeders” — The Discovery Files

To enable plants to take advantage of Earth’s nitrogen-rich atmosphere — and reduce the need for fertilizer — scientists have genetically engineered bacteria that can make use of nitrogen gas, a process called nitrogen fixation. If scientists can apply this engineering method — in which nitrogen-fixing genes are inserted into a specimen that normally doesn’t fix nitrogen — to plants, it could change the face of agriculture, making more food available in less time with fewer environmental costs.