Dr Alison Carswell

How does nitrogen affect our food and climate? Alison Carswell from Rothamsted Research.

Video credit: UKRI
On-screen captions and an autogenerated transcript is available on YouTube.

In the run-up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), we asked our researchers to tell us about their work and the challenges of tackling climate change.

Dr Alison Carswell is a research scientist at Rothamsted Research.

Her research focuses on nitrogen cycling in agricultural systems. This is essential as the global nitrogen cycle has been disrupted by humans through the conversion of stable atmospheric nitrogen into reactive nitrogen.

Alison’s research aims to reduce the amount of reactive nitrogen that is lost into the environment. Although it can be used as a chemical nitrogen fertiliser on our croplands, supporting us to feed our growing population, not all of the reactive nitrogen ends up in the foods we eat. This has a detrimental effect on humans and climate change.

Alison says:

There is an imbalance in parts of the world, so we have parts of the world that has lots of excess nitrogen, too much of it has been applied to the cropland. Then there are other parts of the world which don’t have enough nitrogen and would really benefit from using more nitrogen fertiliser.

Last updated: 3 November 2021

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