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:4/28/2016)... -- First quarter 2016:   , Revenues ... first quarter of 2015 The gross margin was 49% ... and the operating margin was 40% (-13) Earnings per ... from operations was SEK 249.9 M (21.2) , Outlook ... 7,000-8,500 M. The operating margin for 2016 is estimated ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... -- Research and Markets has announced the ...  report to their offering.  ,      ... gait biometrics market is expected to grow at ... Gait analysis generates multiple variables such ... compute factors that are not or cannot be ...
(Date:3/29/2016)... Florida , March 29, 2016 ... the "Company") LegacyXChange "LEGX" and SelectaDNA/CSI Protect are pleased ... in ink used in a variety of writing instruments, ... Buyers of originally created collectibles from athletes on LegacyXChange ... forensic analysis of the DNA. Bill ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... Brooklyn, NY (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... 15mm, machines such as the Cary 5000 and the 6000i models are higher end ... height is the height of the spectrophotometer’s light beam from the bottom of the ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT ... Ontario biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics ... development and commercialization of a portfolio of first-in-class ... Epigenetic targets such as WDR5 represent an exciting ... significantly in precision medicine for cancer patients. Substantial ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June, 23, 2016  The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a ... ways to harness living systems and biotechnology, announced its ... in New York City . ... students, showcased projects at MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during ... , MoMA,s senior curator of architecture and design, and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced ... of its complement C3 inhibitor, APL-2. The trials ... dose studies designed to assess the safety, tolerability, ... in healthy adult volunteers. Forty subjects ... single dose (ranging from 45 to 1,440mg) or ...
Breaking Biology Technology: