Biological Nitrogen Fixation (BNF) is a highly efficient natural process that converts atmospheric dinitrogen into forms that are useful to plants.
Biological Nitrogen Fixation is the result of a symbiotic relationship between Legumes (members of the plant family Leguminosae) and nitrogen-fixing bacteria known as rhizobia.
Nitrogen fixation occurs in a special root structure, called the nodule, which forms when legume roots become infected with rhizobia.
Of all the necessary nutrients for plant growth and productivity, nitrogen is required in the largest quantity and is often the most limiting factor of crop yield in agricultural systems.
Despite being the most abundant element in the atmosphere, the availability of metabolically usable forms is governed by the process of nitrogen fixation.
This key biological system is under-utilised in modern agriculture and a neglected area of research, agriculture and ecology.
Biological Nitrogen Fixation warrants further study, given that the system naturally produces nitrogen in forms available to plants, allowing us to bypass economically and ecologically costly production of synthetic nitrogen fertilisers.