six publications per project, as proceedings and peer-reviewed papers. The results of the projects are impacting on the environment, agricultural sustainability, and national development. There are also possible scientific implications for the United States, in addition to the fruitful exchange of ideas, materials, and philosophies. The projects even resulted in commercialization of products based on this new-found knowledge.


The committee produced several recommendations based on its considerable and diverse knowledge and experience in BNF and its review of the AID-funded research. Specific recommendations contained in the body of the report all support one general recommendation:

The outstanding global potential of BNF in agriculture and forestry will be realized only with the long-term investment of significant funds.

The energy crisis of the early 1970s prompted an influx of funding for BNF. Ambitious expectations of positive effects on food production were only partially realized in the short term. However, there now exists a sound technological base, much detailed knowledge of nitrogen-fixing processes, and molecular genetic tools to foster the formulation and accomplishment of realistic goals as outlined in this report. A high priority for increased investment in BNF is justified by the opportunities to reduce or replace the growing cost of fertilizer nitrogen, currently more than $20 billion per year, to minimize the multifaceted local and global environmental damage that it causes, and to sustain the food needs of an expanding world population. Expansion of our knowledge and development of economic applications and management systems for developed and developing countries should be pursued.

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