Nitrogen bacteria

Nature in its subtle forms of biological chemistry hides from our eyes many processes. For example, how do those plants get nitrogen that do not grow on artificially fertilized sites? It turns out that a significant role here is played by nitrogen bacteria.

It turns out that a significant role here is played by nitrogen bacteria

Nitrogen from the atmosphere can not feed the plants - such conclusions were the results of numerous experiments of botanists. But, this continued until the Russian scientist MS Voronin at the end of the 19th century discovered a remarkable feature of the structure of leguminous plants. On the roots of pea, clover, wiki and other plants of this family there are small nodules in which, according to the scientist, there live special nitrogen bacteria, which soon received the name "nodule". These nitrogen bacteria were able to bind atmospheric nitrogen and process it into various nitrogen compounds. Soon similar nitrogen bacteria were found in the free form in the soil.

It turned out that not only legumes, but also other plants can feed on atmospheric nitrogen! True, nitrogen-fixing enzymes in many plants are simply suppressed, therefore, they need to be loosened up and activated. First of all, this is the task of genetic engineering.

Nitrogen bacteria with amazing ease extract nitrogen directly from the air and bind it to hydrogen, getting ammonia. Scientists managed to decipher the mechanism of reaction in living nature and to open the main instrument of nitrogen bacteria - the enzyme nitrogenase. The study of the biological reaction of fixing nitrogen from air showed that only molybdenum ions, and in some cases vanadium, can be active centers of enzymes. These metals and chose to try to simulate the natural process in the laboratory.

In the waves of the World Ocean there are about 130 billion tons of pure nitrogen! A simple calculation, and it turns out: the ocean can easily provide the need for nitrogen compounds for more than 5 millennia! Is it possible, in the image and likeness of nitrogen bacteria, to build real factories for producing ammonia? Some metals, for example copper, are extracted from mine drains and underground waters.

Technologically, it can look like this. Seawater is passed through filters of ion-exchange resins, which concentrate nitrate ions. Then they are washed out with solutions of calcium, sodium or ammonium salts. As a result, calcium, sodium or ammonium nitrate is immediately obtained, of course, after evaporation of the solutions.