—MICROBES DO IT; NOW SO DO PLANTS “Some plants not only fix N2 but also convert organic nitrogen to NO2–, NO3–” A stage in the nitrogen cycle previously known to occur only in microorganisms has now been shown to occur in some plants, according to a new study. The nitrogen cycle is mediated by interactions among plants, animals, and microorganisms. Some plants are key because they harbor bacteria that can reduce atmospheric nitrogen to ammonia, the stage called nitrogen fixation. In the stage called nitrification, organic nitrogen is converted to nitrite and nitrate. This process is mediated by microorganisms, primarily bacteria. Researchers at the University of Wales, Swansea, now find that nitrification also occurs in some plants—in particular, the horseshoe vetch (Hippocrepis comosa), a nitrogen-fixing member of the legume family [Nature, 430, 98 (2004)].
by A. Maureen Rouhi |
July 05, 2004