The fate of anthropogenic nitrogen is at the core of our environmental predicament. Human activities have more than doubled the annual input of reactive nitrogen to the biosphere compared to prehistoric levels, causing escalating emissions of nitrous oxid e (N2O) which contributes to global warming and depletion of stratospheric ozone. Ultimately, anthropogenic
nitrogen will return to the atmosphere, either as N2, N2O or NO, which are the gaseous products of microbial red/ox-transformations of mineral nitr ogen. The N2/N2O/NO product ratio of these transformations is controlled by the ecology and regulatory biology of the organisms involved, modulated by environmental factors. We need better understanding and quantification of these processes to improve our chances to reduce N2O emissions from managed ecosystems (agriculture and waste treatment systems).
Such progress requires interdisciplinary scientific approaches in collaboration with the fertilizer and waste-industries.
NORA comprises the strongest res earch groups in Europe regarding the biochemistry, biotechnology, physiology and ecology of N-transforming microbes in soils and wastewater systems, the R&D of leading fertilizer, waste treatment and robot industry.