The Nitrogen Cycle

By: Gabi Conners

Nitrogen's Role

This biogeochemical cycle contains more than just one form of nitrogen. In fact, nitrogen is one of the most versatile elements. From the atmosphere to fertilizers, from waste to oceans, nitrogen is found just about everywhere! Because nitrogen is used by many different organisms, it has to take on different forms through nitrogen fixation, nitrification, denitrification, and ammonification. Through these processes, nitrogen changes to and from nitrate ions, nitrite ions, and ammonia in order to be useful for people, plants, and other organisms to create amino acids, proteins, and nucleic acids for growth and energy.
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Fixation - changes nitrogen into ammonium, making it usable by plants.

Nitrification - ammonium changes into nitrates and gets absorbed by plants.

Denitrification - nitrogen in the soil goes back into the atmosphere.

Ammonification - the decaying process; when an organism dies, decomposers (fungi, bacteria, etc.) turn nitrogen back into ammonium; reenters the nitrogen cycle.

*All processes are carried out by the use of special bacteria!

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