Related topics: soil · climate change · carbon dioxide · plants · hydrogen

Scientists identify a plant molecule that sops up iron-rich heme

Symbiotic relationships between legumes and the bacteria that grow in their roots are critical for plant survival. Without those bacteria, the plants would have no source of nitrogen, an element that is essential for building ...

Meteorite provides record of asteroids 'spitting out' pebbles

In 2019, NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft sent back images of a geological phenomenon no one had ever seen before: pebbles were flying off the surface of the asteroid Bennu. The asteroid appeared to be shooting off swarms of ...

Why interseeding might be the boost cover crops need

American farmers harvest nearly five times more corn than wheat. But this productive, useful crop requires fertilizer to reach its maximum potential, and is often not able to take up all the fertilizer it's given. Excess ...

Growing cereal crops with less fertilizer

Researchers at the University of California, Davis, have found a way to reduce the amount of nitrogen fertilizers needed to grow cereal crops. The discovery could save farmers in the United States billions of dollars annually ...

Five of the top discoveries aboard NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars

Revealing the potentially habitable climate of ancient Mars is a key part of NASA's mission to explore and understand the unknown, to inspire and benefit humanity—and for 10 years, the Curiosity rover has been on the case ...

Microbes emit nitrogen oxides—perhaps more than you think

Microbes emit nitrogen oxides, or NOx. This is important because it involves surface-earth nitrogen (N) cycle, which strongly interacts with environmental quality, food production, biosphere and climate changes. A study led ...

Understanding cooperation and conflict in plant symbionts

The traditional idea of symbiosis—long-term interactions between two organisms—is that the participants mutually benefit each other. However, researchers have debated whether the interests of the symbionts always line ...

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Nitrogen

Nitrogen (pronounced /ˈnaɪtrədʒɨn/) is a chemical element that has the symbol N and atomic number 7 and atomic mass 14.00674 u. Elemental nitrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless and mostly inert diatomic gas at standard conditions, constituting 78% by volume of Earth's atmosphere.

Many industrially important compounds, such as ammonia, nitric acid, organic nitrates (propellants and explosives), and cyanides, contain nitrogen. The extremely strong bond in elemental nitrogen dominates nitrogen chemistry, causing difficulty for both organisms and industry in converting the N2 into useful compounds, and releasing large amounts of energy when these compounds burn or decay back into nitrogen gas.

The element nitrogen was discovered by Daniel Rutherford, a Scottish physician, in 1772. Nitrogen occurs in all living organisms. It is a constituent element of amino acids and thus of proteins, and of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA). It resides in the chemical structure of almost all neurotransmitters, and is a defining component of alkaloids, biological molecules produced by many organisms.

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