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Re: RC: Re: Fw: Re: Tree-hugger

At 11:10 AM 3/16/00 EST, wrote:

>But try to use chemical fertilizers that don't smell and listen to the
>from people who believe those chemicals are going to kill us all.  Nitrogen 
>is nitrogen, whether it is from man-made granules or from cows (pigs, 
>chickens, whatever).

Not quite.  Just for starters, it comes as NO2 and NO3 - nitrite and
nitrate - there's also a bunch of others (N2O) - lots and lots of them.
They all have different effects, depending on whether they are in the air
or water.  There's really only a couple of things that you really worry
about in waste water treatment - biological oxygen demand (BOD) - feed the
bacteria in a stream too well, they consume all the oxygen, the fish and
everything else in it dies - often for many miles downstream.  Of the two
main forms nitrogen takes, nitrite is by far the most dangerous - if it
gets into the water supply of very young animals (babies, little horses,
etc.), it has a reaction in their blood stream, and death can occur.

Since there are strict laws, most of the point sources (plants, factories,
munincipal treatment plants) are pretty well under control - what isn't
under control is what is called non-point source pollution - things people
spray on fields, their yards, and so on.

Now if you take it a little past there being various forms of nitrogen in
ionic form, you can bond it to other sorts of things - various organics,
etc.  For example, nitrogen is what defines a protein.  Depending on what
sort of other organic or non-organic it is bound to can have big effects on
how it behaves.

What I'm not aware of is the chemical differences between using manure and
manufactured chemicals - I would tend to suspect that the manure is less
likely to cause problems, but maybe not.

David LeBlanc

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