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§ Nitrogen, is one of the most important mineral nutrients


required for growth of organisms required in large amounts as
an essential component of proteins, nucleic acids and other
cellular constituents.

§ Air contains about 79 % of Nitrogen

§ However, N2 is unavailable for use by most organisms because


there is a triple bond between the two nitrogen atoms, making
the molecule almost inert.
§ mornitrogen to be used for growth it must be "fixedDz in the
form of ammonium (NH4) or nitrate (NO3) ions.
Various microorganisms have a central role in
almost all aspects of nitrogen availability and thus for life
support on earth such as Ȃ

§ Conversion of N2 into ammonia

§ Conversion of ammonia to nitrate and then to nitrogen

§ Degradation organic matter, releasing fixed nitrogen for reuse


by other organisms.
All these processes contribute to the nitrogen cycle.
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Ên general, the nitrogen cycle has five steps:

1. 2 
 
Êt involves conversion of atmospheric nitrogen to ammonia

2. 2  
 
Êt involves conversion of of ammonia to nitrates

3.  
 
Êt involves incorporation of ammonia and nitrates into
biological tissues
4. Ammonification
Êt involves conversion of organic nitrogen compounds to
ammonia
5. Denitrification
Êt involves conversion of nitrates back to nitrogen

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The 1st step in Nitrogen Cycle, called Nitrogen fixation, is of the


following types Ȃ

Physical Nitrogen mixation


Êt starts with oxidation of atmospheric nitrogen under the
influence of electric discharge during thunder producing
nitrites and nitrates which are soluble in water and can be
absorbed by the plants through their roots.

Chemical Nitrogen mixation


Ên industries, atmospheric nitrogen is fixed by chemical
processes for the production of N2-fertilizers. Êt is based on the
conventional Haber-Bosch process, i.e., catalytic reduction of N2
to NH3, using hydrogen obtained from natural gas which takes
place at high temperature (400-600°C) and pressure (100-200
atmosphere )

N2 + 3H2 -> 2NH3


Biological Nitrogen mixation
A relatively small amount of ammonia is produced by lightning
and industrially by the Haber-Bosch process. But the major
conversion of N2 into ammonia, and hence into proteins, is
achieved by microorganisms.

Biological Nitrogen fixation is of the following types Ȃ

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Ae shall now be dealing with the various aspects related to


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