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Nitrogen Cycle - Assignment Example

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In the paper “Nitrogen Cycle” the author describes nitrogen as one of the major components of air and is essential for survival; however, its natural form cannot be used by animals or plants directly. The nitrogen cycle involves various processes, both biological and redox abiotic processes…
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Nitrogen Cycle
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Download file to see previous pages Further bacterial action converts the ammonia into nitrite and nitrate by nitrification. Plants utilize nitrate for metabolic purposes. The cycle ends with denitrification where microbes convert back the nitrates into nitrogen gas and release it back into the air.
The nitrogen cycle of the aquatic or marine ecosystem is considered to be extremely complex. In the marine ecosystem, nitrogen is present in more than one form and all chemical conversions are done by marine organisms. Nitrogen may be found as nitrogen dioxide, nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, and nitrous oxide. However, the most abundant forms of Nitrogen in the ocean surface are dissolved dinitrogen gas and dissolved organic nitrogen (Zehr and Kudela, 2011, p197).
The major reaction of the nitrogen cycle in the marine ecosystem is an assimilation of nitrate or ammonia by phytoplankton and is therefore considered fixed. The remineralization process involving both ammonification and nitrification helps return fixed organic nitrogen to nitrate.
Ammonification is exactly the reverse of ammonia assimilation reaction and is conducted by heterotrophic bacteria. The conversion of NH4+ to NO3- is carried out by chemoautotrophs in two steps of nitrifications. Oxidation of NH4+ to NO2- and that of NO2- toNO3- is carried out in the presence of oxygen by Nitrosomonas sp. This is followed by heterotrophic denitrification where conversion of nitrate occurs. Since sediments play a major role in the nitrogen cycle of the marine ecosystem, the presence of bioturbators alters the physicochemical properties of the sediment and increases nitrification and denitrification rates (Laverock, et al.2011).
Denitrification is the final and most important step of the nitrogen cycle where reduction of ionic nitrogen oxides occurs and is done by denitrifying bacteria which are able to use nitrogen oxides and electron acceptors. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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