Biological Nitrogen Fixation


The University of Hawaii NifTAL (Nitrogen Fixation by Tropical Agricultural Legumes) Center was funded by USAID through the Soil Management Collaborative Research Support Program. NifTAL conducted research, product development and outreach activities to improve and transfer effective biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) technologies for sustainable agriculture in developing countries.

NifTAL promotes biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) – a natural, economical source of nitrogen for agriculture and agroforestry systems. Before modern fertilizers, legume BNF was the primary nitrogen input for agriculture. Legumes like beans and peas are major sources of dietary protein for humans throughout the developing world. Other legumes are valuable grains, forages, and multipurpose trees. Legumes used as green manures and in crop rotation can improve soil fertility and benefit the non-legume crop.

Although BNF is a natural process, most legume crops do not receive maximal benefit from BNF. NifTAL’s programs foster improved legume management and the practice of inoculating legumes with selected, highly effective rhizobia to raise the amount of BNF captured by the 150 million hectares of legumes cultivated worldwide. Legume inoculation is one of the most feasible and cost-effective biotechnologies available for agricultural development. Inoculants are inexpensive, low-risk inputs. On many farms, nitrogen from BNF may be the only renewable soil fertility input the farmer can acquire without significant investment. By maximizing BNF through inoculation and proper farm management, farmers can raise their yields and incomes. On a national basis, increased BNF from inoculants can be worth millions of dollars in higher yields and fertilizer savings.

Visit : http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/bnf/

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