Research CommentariesChemistry

Fixing Nitrogen Any Which Way

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Science  23 Jan 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5350, pp. 506-507
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5350.506

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Chemical reactions that split the dinitrogen economically and efficiently are of great importance. Plants do this by nitrogen fixation, and chemical engineers accomplish it through the Haber process, which converts nitrogen to ammonia. In his commentary, Leigh discusses results in the same issue reported by Nishibayashi et al. in which small metallic complexes were used to split dinitrogen. More than just another pathway, according to Leigh, the findings indicate a convergence of several forms of nitrogen reactivity.