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Bacteria in the Nitrogen Cycle

Author: Nikki Jiang

Editors: Peggy Yang and Angela Lin

Artist: Aurora Chen

Similar to the water cycle, nitrogen also cycles in nature with the help of different types of bacteria. About 78% of the air in the Earth’s atmosphere is made up of nitrogen meaning that it is very abundant. With the help of the nitrogen cycle, nitrogen can exist in soil, water, and the air. It is the nutrient that plants need to make chlorophyll and capture sunlight. Nitrogen is also needed for proteins, DNA, and amino acids. Too much nitrogen can have side effects as well. Nitrogen-based fertilizer can cause nitrogen pollution in our water ecosystems. Even though we have a lot of nitrogen, much of it is in the gaseous form (N2) which cannot be used by living organisms. That is where the nitrogen cycle comes in to convert this unusable form of nitrogen into something usable.

Nitrogen fixation, nitrification, and denitrification are the three main proc