The Science of Happiness

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Nitrogen fixation is a process by which nitrogen (N2) in the atmosphere is converted into ammonia (NH3).[1] Atmospheric nitrogen or molecular nitrogen (N2) is relatively inert: it does not easily react with other chemicals to form new compounds. Fixation process free up the nitrogen atoms from their diatomic form (N2) to be used in other ways.
Nitrogen fixation, natural and synthetic, is essential for all forms of life because nitrogen is required to biosynthesize basic building blocks of plants, animals and other life forms, e.g., nucleotides for DNA and RNA and amino acids for proteins. Therefore nitrogen fixation is essential for agriculture and the manufacture of fertilizer. It is also an important process in the manufacture of explosives (e.g. gunpowder, dynamite, TNT, etc.). Nitrogen fixation occurs naturally in the air by means of lightning.[2][3]
Nitrogen fixation also refers to other biological conversions of nitrogen, such as its conversion to nitrogen dioxide. Microorganisms that can fix nitrogen are prokaryotes (both bacteria and archaea, distributed throughout their respective kingdoms) called diazotrophs. Some higher plants, and some animals (termites), have formed associations (symbioses) with diazotrophs.
Biological nitrogen fixation[edit]

Schematic representation of the nitrogen cycle. Abiotic nitrogen fixation has been omitted.
Biological nitrogen fixation was discovered by the German agronomist Hermann Hellriegel and Dutch microbiologist Martinus Beijerinck. Biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) occurs when atmospheric nitrogen is converted to ammonia by an enzyme called nitrogenase.[1] The reaction for BNF is:
N2 + 8 H+ + 8 e− → 2 NH3 + H2
The process is coupled to the hydrolysis of 16 equivalents of ATP and is accompanied by the co-formation of one molecule of H2. In free-living diazotrophs, the nitrogenase-generated ammonium is assimilated…...

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