What's the difference between nitrogen fixation and ammonification?

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MrLatinNerd
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Until today I've always thought that nitrogen fixation was the process by which nitrogen gas in the air is converted first into nitrogen oxides, and then into nitrates, which are put in soil. But I've just had a look online, and apparently, nitrogen fixation is when N2 is converted into ammonia (NH4)! But I thought that was ammonification...

Could someone please clear up my confusion?
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Dynamo123
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(Original post by MrLatinNerd)
Until today I've always thought that nitrogen fixation was the process by which nitrogen gas in the air is converted first into nitrogen oxides, and then into nitrates, which are put in soil. But I've just had a look online, and apparently, nitrogen fixation is when N2 is converted into ammonia (NH4)! But I thought that was ammonification...

Could someone please clear up my confusion?
This page clears all these confusions quite handsomely.
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Tillybop
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(Original post by MrLatinNerd)
Until today I've always thought that nitrogen fixation was the process by which nitrogen gas in the air is converted first into nitrogen oxides, and then into nitrates, which are put in soil. But I've just had a look online, and apparently, nitrogen fixation is when N2 is converted into ammonia (NH4)! But I thought that was ammonification...

Could someone please clear up my confusion?
Ammonification is when the organic ammonium is converted into ammonia. Nitrogen fixing is converting nitrogen into nitrogen-containing compounds.
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MrLatinNerd
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Thanks!


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USER100895494
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but doesn't ammonia contain nitrogen though? NH^3, so then couldn't the process of nitrogen fixation work on ammonia also by your definition?
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LukeA95
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(Original post by USER100895494)
but doesn't ammonia contain nitrogen though? NH^3, so then couldn't the process of nitrogen fixation work on ammonia also by your definition?
Firstly, never superscript chemical compounds. Always subscript. NH3 is how ammonia should be displayed, you will lose marks if you fail to do this.

Nitrogen fixation is the process from which ATMOSPHERIC nitrogen is processed into useful forms for plants - atmospheric nitrogen is limited in its usefulness.

This is undertaken by bacteria called diazotrophs. These bacteria contain the nitrogenase enzyme, which combined gaseous nitrogen with hydrogen, producing ammonia. The equation for this is as follows:


N2 + 3H2 --> 2NH3


Ammonification is the process by which ORGANIC nitrogen (from plant or animal waste) is converted into ammonium ions (NH4+).

Good luck... this is a tough topic, and there is a lot to remember!! Revision cards and past papers are useful for this area. Mind mapping and drawing out the cycle numerous times will also help you to remember... its all about getting that information into your hypocampus, and your long-term memory!
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LukeA95
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(Original post by Tillybop)
Ammonification is when the organic ammonium is converted into ammonia. Nitrogen fixing is converting nitrogen into nitrogen-containing compounds.
Be careful with your information. Ammonification is process - carried out by various bacteria/microorganisms - which breaks down proteins, amino acids and other nitrogenous compounds and dead and waste organic matter to form ammonia. This ammonia dissolves in the water in soil, forming ammonium ions, by combining with the hydrogen ions present in the soil. This ammonium can be oxidised into nitrites and nitrates, in the same way by which nitrogen has been fixed from the atmosphere.

Strictly speaking, ammonia is converted into ammonium, and NOT the other way around. It is important not to confuse this.
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YRIF2012
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(Original post by MrLatinNerd)
Until today I've always thought that nitrogen fixation was the process by which nitrogen gas in the air is converted first into nitrogen oxides, and then into nitrates, which are put in soil. But I've just had a look online, and apparently, nitrogen fixation is when N2 is converted into ammonia (NH4)! But I thought that was ammonification...

Could someone please clear up my confusion?
Hey if you need quick help you might find this resource useful: www.thestudentsolutions.co.uk where you can ask oxbridge biology/chem/physics students directly, i found it really useful when doing my a -levels, perhaps you can find it useful too.
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Manik Shukla
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Listen in ammonification organic compounds are converted in to ammonia but in nitrogen fixation nitrogen gas is converted in to ammonia, both ammonification and nitrogen fixation are steps of nitrogen cycle ....Take Care most books and articles in net will confuse you but what I told is 100% correct
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