Nitrogen Fixation is a process by which the nitrogen in the air is converted into ammonia. It is also found to convert into other nitrogenous compounds. The molecular dinitrogen which is referred to as the atmospheric nitrogen, which is found to be unreactive in nature where to some microorganisms it is found to be reactive in nature. The biological nitrogen fixation is process which is used to convert the Nitrogen into ammonia by making use of the microorganism. The metabolism is carried out by the microorganisms. Nitrogen fixation is found to be an essential and a very significant process. because it is found to convert the fixed organic nitrogen compounds into nitrogen containing organic compounds for the biosynthesis process such as the amino acids, proteins, nucleoside, tri phosphates and also the nucleic acids. It is a very significant biochemical process which is very important for the agricultural activities, as it is useful in manufacturing the fertilizers for adding fertility to the soil. Also most of expensive and the inexpensive chemical compound that contain nitrogen are also manufactured with the help of this process including the dyes, drugs and other explosives.
The process of nitrogen fixation carried out directly in the soil by making use of a number of microorganisms like diazotrophs, bacteria such as Azotobacter, and archaea. Some nitrogen-fixing bacteria have symbiotic relationships with some plant groups, also known as legumes. The associative relationship in between the diazotrophs and the plants are seen in the rice roots. This kind of reactions are also found to occur in the termites and fungi. Also this occurs naturally in the air by means of NOX production in the presence of light. Nitrogenases are the enzymes which affects the biological nitrogen fixation process.
Chemically, it can be expressed as:
N2 + 16ATP + 8e- + 8H+ -> 2NH3 + H2 + 16ADP + 16Pi
For example, if we consider the following example under as:
Nitrogen can be fixed by lightning converting nitrogen and oxygen into NO
x (nitrogen oxides). NOx may react with water to make nitrous acid, which is found to seep in the soil, thereby making nitrate, which is found to be very useful to the growing plants. Nitrogen in the atmosphere is highly stable and nonreactive in nature due to there being a triple bond between atoms in the N2 molecule. Lightning has sufficient amount of energy and heat to break this bond allowing the nitrogen atoms to react with oxygen forming NOx. This, itself cannot be used by plants, but as this molecule cools it reacts with more oxygen to form NO2. This molecule in turn reacts with water to produce HNO3 (nitric acid), or its ion NO3- (nitrate), which is usable by plants. So, it can be said that the nitrogen fixation is a very essential process for the agricultural purpose as well and it is found to add fertility to the soil, by the biochemical reaction in between the microorganisms and the nitrogen found in the soil.
Importance of nitrogen fixation:
Nitrogen fixation helps in converting nitrogen gas of atmosphere into a form that can be used by other organisms and plant. There are a variety of bacteria conducting nitrogen fixation and it is regarded as the most crucial process of biochemical on the Earth. This is so because, the principal source of nitrogen in the soil is due to the process of nitrogen fixation. In many cropping system, nitrogen fixation is considered to be the important process in the productivity of agriculture. This is attributable to the fact about the fixation of rational effects such as controlling disease and generating direct input of atmospheric nitrogen. When the problems in the legume host, environment and microsymbiont is addressed, it might result in increasing nitrogen fixation in the crop legumes.
Nitrogen fixation has got an essential role in the global ecosystem due to its impact on the N cycle. There are various types of nitrogen fixing bacteria that is important for the functioning of the ecosystem such as associate nitrogen fixing bacteria that provides fixed nitrogen to the plants and they generally resides outside the roots of plant.
It also plays a crucial role in enhancing the fertility of soil by absorbing the rudimentary nitrogen from the atmosphere which is carried out by various groups of actinomycetes and bacteria and thereby combining the compounds that provides nutrients to plants. The enzyme nitrogenase is produced by these microbial enzymes that reduces dinitrogen has to ammonia by catalysing it. Microorganism that helps in fixing nitrogen are either symbiotic or free living.
The biological nitrogen fixation have also importance to the living organisms as the atmospheric nitrogen gas is fixed into organic forms with the help of nonsymbiotic and symbiotic organisms. The importance of the process of nitrogen is enormous as it helps in reducing the dependence of agriculture on the nitrogen fertilizers. The roughly estimated value of nitrogen that is reduced annually with the help of biological nitrogen fixation is 200 million. The process also hold importance of animals as they are able to obtain nitrogen compounds from the biochemical process and nitrogen is considered to be an important part of composition of cell.
The significance of nitrogen fixation cannot be doubt by the developing countries for their economies and wellbeing of the people. The amount of biologically fixed nitrogen is agriculture is reduced by the availability of cheap fertilizer N and thereby adding to the benefit of environment and humanity. However, the process of nitrogen fixation is required to be optimized. Efficient use of nitrogen brought by the process of nitrogen fixation yields multiple advantages such as genetic improvements for adapting plants to soil that lacks nitrogen and maintaining productivity level by reducing the use of fertilizers.
Therefore, an increase in the use of biological nitrogen fixation as a major source of nitrogen for plants would contribute to agricultural sustainability by advancing it. Such process offers an ecologically sound and attractive means for improving the quantity and quality of internal resources and reducing the input of external nitrogen.
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