Ammonification

Introduction

Soil contains so many important elements like Carbon, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Sulphur and many more. Among them, Nitrogen is considered as one of the important elements. All these nutrients are consumed by plants but not directly. For example, plants are not able to consume atmospheric nitrogen directly. This atmospheric nitrogen needs to be converted into a simpler form for consumption. For this conversion few bacteria participate and convert atmospheric nitrogen into absorbable form and after this conversion, plants use this simpler form of nitrogen. 

For all this conversion of nitrogen, there is a separate cycle called the Nitrogen cycle. The nitrogen cycle is a biogeochemical cycle which converts nitrogen into various simple forms by going through various sub-cycles like nitrification, assimilation, ammonification, denitrification


Ammonification

Ammonification is a subpart of the Nitrogen cycle and by this process, organisms are able to consume Nitrogen for their survival. In this process, microorganisms like bacteria and other decomposing bacteria act in combination on dead organic matter to convert their nitrogen into simple ammonia form. This process of conversion of nitrogen into ammonia is known as ammonification. These simple forms of Nitrogen help organisms to survive by consuming them for their growth. 


Steps Involved in Ammonification Process

Ammonification is a third step of the Nitrogen cycle. Under this process so many chemical reforms take place. In this ammonification process, NH2 groups are converted into (NH4+) and ammonia is the end product of the ammonification process. The substrates of the ammonification process are urea, uric acid and organic nitrogen of faeces. 

After this conversion Ammonia can be assimilated and combined to form various amino acids which further play an important role in various metabolic processes. There are so many nitrogen-carrying compounds present in living organisms, some of them are proteins, nucleic acid, DNA, Vitamins, urea, etc. 


Implications of Ammonification Process:

Some of the important roles of the ammonification process are listed below:

1. As nitrogen in any living organism is present in organic form and this form cannot be used directly. So, through the ammonification process, nitrogen is converted into ammonia which is further converted into ammonium by plants for absorbing them. Ammonia is an inorganic form of Nitrogen. 

2.  There are so many nitrogen-carrying compounds present in living organisms, some of them are proteins, nucleic acid, DNA, Vitamins, urea, etc. 

3. During the ammonification process nitrogen present in dead and decaying parts of plants and any other organisms is converted.

4. Nitrogen in the ecosystem is present in organic form and conversion of this organic form into an inorganic form is necessary for the absorption of organic compounds into a simpler form. 

5. There are many plants which survive on acidic soils and in such condition ammonification plays a crucial role in the absorption of nitrogen.

6. Addition of fertilizers to the soil leads to an increase of ammonia levels in the soil causing overgrowth of fungi sometimes which lead to an imbalance in the ecosystem. 

What Do Bacteria Do During Ammonification?

When any living organism dies the nitrogen from their cells or tissues comes out in the form of nitrogen (organic form) like amino acids, DNA. Further various bacteria like fungi, prokaryotes and more work together to decompose the tissue and convert organic form nitrogen into inorganic form nitrogen. This inorganic form is used by each microorganism.

Examples of a few ammonifying bacteria are Bacillus, Proteus, Clostridium, Pseudomonas and Streptomyces.


Function of Ammonification:

Our atmosphere is composed of several gases out of which nitrogen has the highest percentage i.e 78%. But this nitrogen is not suitable for living beings as it is in organic form i.e. N2 and for this conversion only the ammonification process is mandatory. Through the ammonification process N2 (organic form) is converted into NH3 (inorganic form) which is necessary for plants. This inorganic form returned to the ecosystem and is suitable for all living organisms. 


One Word Answer:

1. Which is the last product of the ammonification process?

Ans. Ammonia

2. Atmospheric nitrogen is in which form?

Ans. Organic

3. Which gas has the highest percentage in the atmosphere?

Ans: Nitrogen (78%)

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Explain the Ammonification Process?

Ans. It is a kind of chemical reaction under which the NH2 group is converted into ammonia or its ionic form ammonium (NH4+) and it is the end product of this reaction. Organisms like bacteria and other microorganisms play a very crucial role during this process. As they derive metabolically useful energy from the oxidation of organic nitrogen to ammonium during this process. 

2. Explain the Importance of the Ammonification Process?

Ans. As in the ammonification process, organic nitrogen is converted into inorganic ammonia and its ion form. Because of this reason, ammonification has its importance, as by this process they provide nitrogen to the soil in the form which is easily absorbable by all plants and plants transfer this nitrogen to all living beings through the food chain.