Dictionary > Nitrification

Nitrification

Definition
noun
A process wherein a nitro group is added to an organic compound
Supplement
Nitrification is a process where a nitro group is added to an organic compound or substituted for another group in an organic compound. It is the oxidation of ammonium compounds in dead organic material into nitrates and nitrites by soil bacteria (making nitrogen available to plants). It also pertains to the conversion of nitrogen from inorganic to organic by nitrate bacteria, which effectively recycles the substance so that it can be used again by plants via root uptake.
Natural nitrification is a biological occurrence performed by nitrifying bacteria. Nitrifying bacteria are microbes that are capable of converting ammonium into nitrate especially through the process of nitrification. Examples of nitrifying bacteria include species of the genera Nitrosomonas (i.e. Gram-negative short to long rods), Nitrosococcus (i.e. large motile cocci), Nitrobacter (i.e. short rods with membrane system arranged as a polar cap), and Nitrococcus (i.e. large cocci with a membrane system randomly arranged in tubes).
Nitrification occurs as follows:

  • 2 NH4+ + 3 O2 → 2 NO2− + 2 H2O + 4 H+
  • 2 NO2− + O2 → 2 NO3
  • NH3 + O2→ NO2− + 3H+ + 2e−
  • NO2− + H2O → NO3− + 2H+ + 2e−

See also:

  • nitrifying bacterium


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