This toxic gas provides almost all of our food

Credit: ACS.

Anhydrous ammonia can cause headline-grabbing disasters, but it’s also responsible for 50% of the food on your table.

It all boils down to nitrogen, and the process of turning the inert dinitrogen in our air into useful fertilizer.

So what is this stuff, how is it used, and how is something so dangerous also so vital?

In this Reactions video, we explore the science behind this absolutely vital molecule.

Reactions is a video series produced by the American Chemical Society and PBS Digital Studios.

The American Chemical Society (ACS) is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress.

ACS’ mission is to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and all its people.

The Society is a global leader in promoting excellence in science education and providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple research solutions, peer-reviewed journals, scientific conferences, eBooks and weekly news periodical Chemical & Engineering News.

ACS’ main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.