HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
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
jsherwood@admin.rochester.edu
716-273-4726
University of Rochester
15-Oct-2001


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:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/20/2017)... , March 20, 2017 PMD Healthcare ... personal spirometer and Wellness Management System (WMS), a remote, ... Founded in 2010, PMD Healthcare is a Medical Device, ... a mission dedicated to creating innovative solutions that empower ... With that intent focus, PMD developed the first ever ...
(Date:3/9/2017)... SAN FRANCISCO and MOUNTAIN VIEW, ... Zipongo , "Eating Well Made Simple," and 23andMe ... to help guide better food choices.  Zipongo can now ... only their food preferences, health goals and biometrics, but ... to certain food choices. Zipongo,s personalized food ...
(Date:3/2/2017)... 2017 Summary This report provides all ... partnering interests and activities since 2010. ... Read the full report: ... 2010 report provides an in-depth insight into the partnering activity ... On demand company reports are prepared upon purchase to ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/23/2017)... -- According to a report by Transparency Market Research ... to the presence of a large pool of participants; however, only ... and Sigma-Aldrich, compete with each other in this market. With Proliant ... 76% of this market in 2016.  ... As of now, a large number of vendors ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... March 23, 2017 , ... ... monitoring solutions, today announced the hire of Dr. Sigmund “Sig” Floyd as Vice ... applications, strategic partnerships and joint development activities. , “Dr. Floyd’s career has spanned ...
(Date:3/22/2017)...  Ascendis Pharma A/S (Nasdaq: ASND), a biopharmaceutical ... address significant unmet medical needs in rare diseases, ... ended December 31, 2016. "2016 ... we broadened our pipeline and pursued our vision ... with an initial focus on endocrinology," said ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... Oramed Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ... ), a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on ... today that Dr. Miriam Kidron , Oramed,s ... "Oral Insulin for Diabetes Treatment: Bypassing the Roadblock," ... Peptide Therapeutics (OPT) Boston Conference in Cambridge, ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: