Researchers uncover a piece of nature's secret nitrogen formula

Pulling nitrogen from the air to make fertilizer is one of the biggest commercial chemical enterprises in the world, involving a complex process of heating dangerously combustible hydrogen under very high pressures. Meanwhile, in the ground just outside these nitrogen-fixation factories, tiny bacteria are also pulling nitrogen from the air-but they are doing it at room temperature and at everyday pressures while being every bit as efficient as the factories. Now a team of researchers thinks it's found a key piece of the puzzle that lets these microorganisms best the world's biggest chemical production business.

"Nature figured out how to fix nitrogen a billion years before we did," says Patrick Holland, assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Rochester and author of the research published in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society. "We're just playing catch-up." Bacteria called azotrophs on the roots of plants take nitrogen from the air and "fix" it, turning it and hydrogen into ammonia that plants use to make DNA and proteins. Animals get nitrogen for their DNA by eating plants, so the very basis of most life on Earth depends on a few bacteria living on the roots of plants.

Since the early part of the 20th century when chemist Fritz Haber discovered that iron can be used on a large scale to fix nitrogen, iron has been recognized as playing an important role as a catalyst. Bacteria also use iron, but Holland has found that the way in which bacteria's iron is bonded may be the key to how nature can fix nitrogen without the pressures and temperatures the man-made process demands.

Holland originally set out to investigate the fundamental chemistry of iron compounds that have three atoms attached to each iron, but an unexpected chemical reaction shed light on nature's secret nitrogen formula. Since the compounds he was studying would likely react with air and water, Jeremy Smith, a postdoctoral fellow worki

Contact: Jonathan Sherwood
University of Rochester

Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Researchers determine genetic cause of Timothy syndrome
2. Researchers find color sensitive atomic switch in bacteria
3. Researchers identify protein promoting vascular tumor growth
4. Researchers devise potent new tools to curb ivory poaching
5. Researchers create nanotubes that change colors, form nanocarpet and kill bacteria
6. Researchers ID chlorophyll-regulating gene
7. Researchers develop fast track way to discover how cells are regulated
8. Researchers identify distinctive signature for metastatic prostate cancer
9. Researchers report new gene test for isolated cleft lip and palate
10. Researchers discover why mutant gene causes colon cancer
11. Researchers identify the genomes controlling elements

Post Your Comments:

(Date:3/31/2016)...   LegacyXChange, Inc. ... LegacyXChange is excited to release its first ... be launched online site for trading 100% guaranteed authentic ... also provide potential shareholders a sense of the value ... industry that is notorious for fraud. The video is ...
(Date:3/29/2016)... , March 29, 2016 LegacyXChange, ... LegacyXChange "LEGX" and SelectaDNA/CSI Protect are pleased to announce ... used in a variety of writing instruments, ensuring athletes ... originally created collectibles from athletes on LegacyXChange will be ... of the DNA. Bill Bollander , ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... 22, 2016 According ... Market for Consumer Industry by Type (Image, Motion, ... (Communication & IT, Entertainment, Home Appliances, & ... to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market ... reach USD 26.76 Billion by 2022, at ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 2016 , ... UAS LifeSciences, one of the leading manufacturers ... Probiotics, into Target stores nationwide. The company, which has been manufacturing high quality ... list of well-respected retailers. This list includes such fine stores as Whole Foods, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Charm ... Mold) microbial test has received AOAC Research Institute approval 061601. , “This is ... last year,” stated Bob Salter, Vice President of Regulatory and Industrial Affairs. “The ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking software company, today announced ... has joined STACS DNA as a Field Application Specialist. , “I am thrilled ... COO of STACS DNA. “In further expanding our capacity as a scientific integrator, Hays ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- On Wednesday, June 22, 2016, the NASDAQ ... Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 0.27% lower to finish at ... Stock-Callers.com has initiated coverage on the following equities: Infinity Pharmaceuticals ... NKTR ), Aralez Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ARLZ ... Learn more about these stocks by accessing their free trade ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: