Cycles of Matter. Organisms are mainly composed of C, H, O & N Living organisms also contain S and P as well as several other elements These elements compose the macromolecules carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids
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Atmospheric nitrogen is converted to ammonia or ammonium ion by nitrogen-fixing bacteria that live in legume root nodules or in soil, or atmospheric nitrogen is converted to nitrogen oxides by lightening.
NH3 or NH4+(soil bacteria)NO2-
NO2- + H2O NO3- + 2H+
Ammonia and Ammonium are oxidized by soil bacteria first to nitrite ions and then to nitrate ions
NH3or NO3- or NO2 (denitrifying bacteria) N2
After plants have taken up nitrogen from the soil in the form of nitrate ions, the nitrogen is passed along the food chain. When those plants and animals dies, bacteria and fungi take up and use some of the nitrogen from the plant/animal protein and other nitrogen containing molecules. The remaining nitrogen is released as ammonium ions or ammonia gas. Denitrifying bacteria convert some ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate back to nitrogen gas, which returns to the atmosphere.