The Process of Nitrogen Cycle

1052 Words5 Pages
The environment is stabilized by the biogeochemical cycles. Biogeochemical cycles are the processes that occur naturally and recycle the nutrients in different chemical forms from the non-living ecosystem to living organisms and then back to the non-living ecosystem. Biogeochemical cycles consist of five cycles which are iron cycle, sulphur cycle, phosphorus cycle, nitrogen cycle and carbon cycle. The most important and complex of biogeochemical cycles is the nitrogen cycle (Botkin & Keller, 2012). Nitrogen cycle allows the various nitrogenous species to cycle among the inert nitrogen gas in the atmosphere and soil (Newton, 1999). According to Newton (1999), “the nitrogen gas molecule is fixed by either natural processes, which include both biological and non-biological (lightning, combustion and volcanism) systems, or man-made processes (mainly industrial ammonia production)” (p. 1). There are four processes in the nitrogen cycle, namely nitrogen fixation, decomposition, nitrification, and lastly, denitrification (refer to Figure 1 in Appendix 1).
Firstly, the cycle involves nitrogen fixation. Nitrogen fixation is a process of forming ammonia (NH3) or nitrate (NO3-) from inorganic nitrogen in the atmosphere. Organisms are not able to consume the molecular nitrogen directly. As a result, plants and organisms must consume the nitrogen in stable compound for example nitrate ions (NO3-), ammonia (NH3) and urea (NH2)2CO. Bacteria are the only organisms that capable to produce ammonia from nitrogen gas. Moran et al. (2012) reported that cyanobacteria performed half of the nitrogen fixation while the other half is from soil bacteria. Nitrogen fixation helps in preventing overall nitrogen deficiency (Newton, 1999). Nitrogen fixation occ...

... middle of paper ...

.... (2000). Living in the environment: Principles, connections and solutions
(11th ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/ Cole Publishing Company.
Miller, G. T. (2007). Living in the environment: Principles, connections and solutions
(15th ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/ Cole Publishing Company.
Moran, L. A., Horton, H. R., Scrimgeour, K. G., & Perry, M. D. (2012) Principles of
Biochemistry (5th ed.). Glenview, IL: Pearson Education.
Mordy, C. W., Eisner, L. B., Proctor, P., Stabeno, P., Devol, A. H., Shull, D. H., …
Whitledge, T. (2010). Temporary uncoupling of the marine nitrogen cycle: Accumulation of nitrite on the Bering Sea shelf. Marine Chemistry, 121, 157-166.
Newton, W. E. (1999). Nitrogen fixation and the biosphere. In Martinez, E. &
Hernandez, G. (Eds.), Highlights of nitrogen fixation research (pp. 1-8). New York, NY: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publisher.
Open Document