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Who’s using up the fertilizer? Nitrate reduction linked to breakdown of soil humics

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Maintaining soil nitrogen is crucial for growing crops, but erosion and the microbial conversion of nitrate to nitrogen gas can continually undermine a farmer’s efforts. A new study in mBio has identified several types of bacteria that can live off of that valuable nitrate by breaking down a ubiquitous soil component: humic acid.
 
 

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