Navigation Links
Nature's process for nitrogen fixation caught in action

Nitrogen gas is converted to ammonia fertilizer by a chemical process that involves high temperature and high pressure. Nature does the same thing at ambient temperature and pressure. The process, called nitrogen fixation, is essential to life as it provides nutrients to plant life.

A research team from Utah State University, Virginia Tech, and Northwestern University asked whether the biological process, carried out by microbes that contain the enzyme nitrogenase, follows the same pathway as recently reported chemical methods. Their research method resulted in the ability to witness steps in the biological process that enables some microorganisms to convert atmospheric nitrogen to nutrients.

The research is reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) Special Feature Issue on Nitrogen Fixation, in the invited article, "A methyldiazene (HN=N-CH3) derived species bound to the nitrogenase active-site FeMo cofactor: Implications for mechanism," by Brett M. Barney of Utah State, Dmitriy Lukoyanov and Tran-Chin Yang of Northwestern, Dennis Dean at Virginia Tech, Brian M. Hoffman of Northwestern, and Lance C. Seefeldt of Utah State.

Dean, director of the Fralin Biotechnology Center at Virginia Tech, performed the genetics and molecular biology. The Utah Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry performed the biochemistry and the biophysics research was carried out in the Northwestern Department of Chemistry.

An enzyme is a protein that induces chemical changes in another substance. "Such reactions involve several stages in the reduction pathway," Dean said. "Nitrogenase activity is particularly complex because there are many intermediate stages between nitrogen gas (N2) and ammonia (NH3) that require adding electrons and protons."

In order to trap the process at a specific stage, the researchers synthesized a mimic of an intermediate compound in the pathway, and then followed its progress. The PNAS ar ticle talks about the challenge of identifying, trapping, synthesizing, and inserting the mimic and methods for observing the reduction of N2.

Hoffman, Dean and Seefeldt have been working for years to figure out how to trap and characterize nitrogenase intermediates. Their success was reported in the Journal of the American Chemical Society and in Chemical and Engineering News in 2005. So, does the biological process follow the same pathway as the chemical process? "Our research suggests it does not," said Dean. "Nature appears to do it differently."
'"/>

Source:Virginia Tech


Related biology news :

1. Virologists make major step towards understanding the process of HIV infection
2. Researchers pioneer new gene therapy technique using natural repair process
3. Studies reveal how plague disables immune system, and how to exploit the process to make a vaccine
4. Genomic sequences processed in minutes, rather than weeks
5. Multi-species genome comparison sheds new light on evolutionary processes, cancer mutations
6. Carnegie Mellon University research reveals how cells process large genes
7. Elderly mice yield clues to the process of growing old
8. Insight into the processes of positive and negative learners
9. New processing method reduces peanut allergenicity
10. Green diesel: New process makes liquid transportation fuel from plants
11. Brain activity related to processing faces is similar in people with, without autism

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:6/14/2017)... IBM ) is introducing several innovative partner startups at VivaTech ... startups and global businesses, taking place in Paris ... will showcase the solutions they have built with IBM Watson ... France is one of the most dynamic ... in the number of startups created between 2012 and 2015*, ...
(Date:5/6/2017)... , May 5, 2017 RAM ... announced a new breakthrough in biometric authentication based ... quantum mechanical properties to perform biometric authentication. These new ... semiconductor material created by Ram Group and its ... entertainment, transportation, supply chains and security. Ram Group ...
(Date:4/17/2017)... MELBOURNE, Florida , April 17, 2017 ... security technology company, announces the filing of its 2016 Annual Report ... Securities and Exchange Commission. ... Report on Form 10-K is available in the Investor Relations section ... well as on the SEC,s website at http://www.sec.gov . ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... Angeles, CA (PRWEB) , ... ... ... Inc., a development-stage cancer-focused pharmaceutical company advancing targeted antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) therapeutics, ... uses of targeted HPLN (Hybrid Polymerized Liposomal Nanoparticle), a technology developed in ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... USDM ... firm for the life sciences and healthcare industries, announces a presentation by Subbu ... , The presentation, “Automating GxP Validation for Agile Cloud Platforms,” will present a ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 09, 2017 , ... ... a four-tiered line of medical marijuana products targeting the needs of consumers who ... packaging of Kindred takes place in Phoenix, Arizona. , As operators of two ...
(Date:10/6/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... The ... and technology sector at their fourth annual Conference where founders, investors, innovative practitioners ... and the ELEVATE pitch competition showcasing early stage digital health and med tech ...
Breaking Biology Technology: