Ammonia is transformed by these symbiotic bacteria into nitrates, which are then taken up by plants.
The resulting ammonia gas could be easily transformed into ammonium nitrate or urea for use in fertilizers.
Well, for starters, many of us wouldn’t be without it: Half of us wouldn’t be alive today if not for synthetic nitrogen.
While Oppau’s legacy today reaches into every corner of the globe—and our bodies—the facility itself didn’t last that long.
In 1921, workers discovered that 4,500 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse had hardened during a period of wet weather into an unusable mass.
So, to loosen it up, they drilled holes in it, stuck some dynamite in, and lit the fuse.
The resulting blast killed more than 500 people (including those workers), destroyed 80 percent of the homes in the town, and ripped the roofs off of homes 15 miles away. »