But Is It Organic?


Nitrogen gas makes up the vast majority of the air we breathe, around 78% by volume. Yet for most of biological life on earth nitrogen is difficult to obtain for a useful purpose. To become part of plants and animals it must first be fixed. Lightning strikes can fix nitrogen, some plants have evolved relationships with fungi and bacteria to fix nitrogen or we have been known to add artificial or natural fertilizer. But not all fertilizers are created equal. Organic produce has never been in greater demand, and where there is demand there are people willing to 'work the system'. Artificial fertilizers are against the official rules of organics as they now stand. But nefarious individuals or groups who try to pass off artificial fertilized crops as organic are in for a surprise. Scientists published in the Journal of Environmental Quality studied peppers grown under organic and artificial fertilizer. Their report shows that it is possible to determine if artificial fertilizer is applied, simply by looking at the isotope ratio of the nitrogen found in the resulting produce.

:: American Society of Agronomy
:: Journal of Environmental Quality (abstract)

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