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:
TAG: Researchers uncover piece nature secret nitrogen formula

(Date:4/17/2014)... hundred births, Down syndrome - or trisomy 21 - ... It results from a chromosomal abnormality where cells of ... (1% of the human genome). A study conducted by ... Genetic Medicine and Development at the University of Geneva ... shed light on how the extra chromosome 21 upsets ...
(Date:4/17/2014)... Clemson professor Rajendra Singh Thursday as a "Champion ... expand solar deployment in the residential, commercial and ... Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and director ... a local hero leading the charge across the ... solar power and driving policy changes at the ...
(Date:4/17/2014)... such as heart disease, epilepsy and pain, making them ... is still much scientists do not know about the ... into the structure of sodium channels and, specifically, one ... responsible for ,fine-tuning, the activity of the channel. The ... the Journal of Biological Chemistry . , Nerves ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):Trisomy 21: How an extra little chromosome throws the entire genome off balance 2Trisomy 21: How an extra little chromosome throws the entire genome off balance 3White House honors Clemson professor as 'Champion of Change' for solar deployment 2Structure of sodium channels different than previously believed 2
(Date:1/14/2014)... EquitiesIQ, a leading informational research provider, has ... an emerging biomedical company acquiring, developing, manufacturing, and marketing ... Free report download: http://equitiesiq.com/reports/alliqua/ , In late ... and Board, which launched the company’s new strategy to ...
(Date:1/14/2014)... iLab Solutions, the leader in core facility ... of Product Strategy. In this role, Michelle will work with ... guide in the development of iLab products. Her main goal ... benefit to the scientific community by offering the most advanced, ...
(Date:1/14/2014)... January 14, 2014 Global Record ... innovative information technology solutions for patients, physicians, the ... stakeholders, announced today the signing of a three-year ... and Drug Administration (FDA). This initiative is ...
(Date:1/14/2014)... January 14, 2014 Kerr Corporation, a leading ... and additional how-to information about dual arch impressions on its ... Dual Arch Impressions,” the blog entry serves up a list ... houses a step-by-step demonstration by Dr. David Little as he ...
Breaking Biology Technology:EquitiesIQ Initiates Coverage of Alliqua, Inc. 2EquitiesIQ Initiates Coverage of Alliqua, Inc. 3iLab Solutions Announces Michelle Detwiler as the New Director of Product Strategy 2Global Record Systems Announces Research Collaboration Agreement with FDA to Create a Novel “Big Data” Paradigm for Collection of Patient Safety and Outcomes Information 2
Cached News: