The Role of Bacteria in the Nitrogen Biogeochemical Cycle
Bacteria play a fundamental role in the biogeochemical cycle of nitrogen, a process that is essential for life on Earth. Bacteria are responsible for the transformation of nitrogen gas (N2) into a usable form of nitrogen known as ammonium (NH4+), which can be taken up by plants and used to form proteins and nucleic acids. This process, known as nitrification, is carried out by two types of bacteria: autotrophic and heterotrophic. Autotrophic bacteria use energy from sunlight or chemical sources to convert N2 into NH4+, whereas heterotrophic bacteria use organic matter as a food source for the same process (Okeke, 2020). Nitrification is an essential part of the global nitrogen cycle as it helps to increase the availability of nitrogen for plants and other organisms. The second role bacteria have in the nitrogen cycle is denitrification. This process is carried out by anaerobic bacteria, which use nitrate (NO3-) instead of oxygen as an electron acceptor (Kumar et al., 2018). Denitrification is the conversion of nitrate to nitrogen gas, and it is the reverse of nitrification. This process is important as it helps to remove nitrate from the environment, which would otherwise accumulate and be harmful to other organisms. Cont…
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