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The Nitrogen Cycle

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maria costa

on 9 May 2011

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Transcript of The Nitrogen Cycle

The Nitrogen Cycle What is Nitrogen? Nitrogen is a chemical element that is crucial in sustaining the Earth’s atmosphere... In fact, about 80% of the atmosphere is made of nitrogen. and all life. What is the Nitrogen Cycle used for? Nitrogen is a component of many organic molecules. It forms an essential part of amino acids (which make up proteins) and DNA. Nitrogen is essential for all living cells!! Nitrogen cycle is the movement of nitrogen in the biosphere between organisms and the environment. What is the Nitrogen Cycle? The Nitrogen Cycle has 5 main steps: 1. Nitrogen Fixation Nitrogen fixation is the process by which gaseous nitrogen (N2) is converted to ammonia (NH3 or NH4+), in three different ways: 1) Atmospheric Nitrogen Fixation
2) Biological Nitrogen Fixation
3) Industrial Nitrogen Fixation. 2. Nitrification Nitrification is a two-step process in which NH3/ NH4+ is converted to NO3-. First, some soil bacteriums such as: Nitrosomonas convert NH3 to NO2- and Nitrococcus and then another soil bacterium, Nitrobacter oxidizes NO2- to NO3-. 3. Assimilation Assimilation is the process that plants and animals get the NO3- and ammonia that was formed through nitrogen fixation and nitrification. Plants take up these forms of nitrogen through their roots and use them to produce plant proteins and nucleic acids. Animals are finally able to use the nitrogen from the plants tissues, for their own purpose. 4. Amonification In this process large quantities of organic nitrogen, including proteins, amino acids, and nucleic acids are produced. Ammonification is the conversion of organic nitrogen into ammonia. The ammonia that is produced in this stage is released into the environment through animal and plant waste, and is then available for either nitrification or assimilation. 5. Denitrification Denitrification is the reduction of NO3- to gaseous N2 by anaerobic bacteria. This stage of the Nitrogen Cyle only happens in places where there are little amounts of oxygen or none. Wetlands provide a very good place to reduce nitrogen levels, through denitrification processes. What are the effects of human interference in the nitrogen cycle? There are many effects to the environment, when we realease huge amounts of nitrogen in the atmosphere. The main ways we interfere in the nitrogen cycle are: - Dumping of raw sewage
- Overuse of inorganic fertilizers
- Burning of fossil fuels and wood. Some effects include: - Eutrophication(accumulation of nutrients), which makes Algae Bloom and deadly red tides. - Acidified soil(inhospitable) -Formation of deadly acid rain when nitric oxide and oxygen combines, and reacts with water vapor. The illustration below will give a better visual of the Nitrogen Cycle: Sources:


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