|Hermann Hellriegel botany
The practice of planting beans to improve the next crop had been known since the Egyptians and the Greeks. Why this worked wasn’t known until Daniel Rutherford isolated nitrogen from air and Hellriegel and Hermann Wilfarth figured out that the bacterium Rhizobium growing in nodules on the roots of legumes converts nitrogen gas into a soluable form that plants can use.
Odd that all living organisms should require the most abundant element in only small amounts except for the difficulty of breaking the bonds of nitrogen gas to render it as ammonia or nitrate and as for that no industrial process can compete with the efficiency of natural processes.
Green plants generate energy from photosynthesis more efficiently than the best solar panels. Green plants work with bacteria to fix nitrogen more efficiently than any industrial process. This could explain why it’s so hard to rid my yard of snails and weeds.