How Do Animals Get Nitrogen?

The Nitrogen Cycle

How Do Animals Get Nitrogen? Nitrogen is an element. It is located in Living things Similar to Plants and Animals. It’s also an essential element of living things such as the air above and dirt below. Atoms Nitrogen doesn’t remain in one spot. They travel slowly between living, dead things of nitrogen, the air, soil, and water. These are known as the nitrogen cycle.

how do animals get nitrogen Quizlet
how do animals get nitrogen Quizlet

The majority of nitrogen that exists on Earth is located in its atmospheric layer. About 80% of molecules that make up Earth’s atmosphere consist of two nitrogen molecules joined to each other (N 2). Animals and plants all require nitrogen to produce amino acids, protein, and DNA, however, the nitrogen that is found in the atmosphere isn’t in a form it can be used. The nitrogen molecules that are present in the atmosphere could become usable by living creatures if they break by fires or lightning strikes or by certain kinds of bacteria. They can also be broken down by the bacteria related to beans.

The majority of plants receive the nitrogen they require to grow from the soil or the water within which they reside. Animals obtain the nitrogen they require from eating plants and other animals that have nitrogen. If organisms die, their bodies begin to decay and release the nitrogen into the soil as well as into the ocean’s water. Bacteria transform nitrogen into type plants can utilize. Different kinds of bacteria can transform the nitrogen that is dissolved in the waterways into a form that permits it to be returned to the air.

Human actions have caused modifications to nitrogen cycles and the quantity of nitrogen stored in the soil as well as in air, water, and living organisms. Utilizing nitrogen-rich fertilizers can create excessive nitrogen in waterways in the vicinity as the fertilizer is washed into ponds and streams. The waste generated by the farming of livestock also contributes huge quantities of nitrogen to soil and water. The higher levels of nitrate cause plants to expand rapidly until they exhaust their resources and eventually end up dying. The number of animals that consume plants increases as the amount of plant food increases, then livestock are left without food once the plants die.

Why do animals and plants need nitrogen

  • it helps to synthesize proteins
  • it helps to synthesize lipids
  • it helps to synthesize water
  • it helps to synthesize glucose

How do animals get their nitrogen?

Animals acquire the nitrogen they require by eating plants and other animals that have nitrogen. If organisms die, their bodies break down and release nitrogen into the soil as well as into the ocean’s water.  The waste generated by the farming of livestock also contributes huge amounts of nitrogen to the soil and water.

What Is the Nitrogen Cycle and Why Is It Key to Life?

Nitrogen, the largest element found in the atmosphere is vital to our lives. Nitrogen is present in plants and soils and in the water that we drink and in the air that we breathe. It is also vital to our lives: a crucial component in DNA that controls our genetic blueprint is crucial for plant growth and consequently essential to the food we consume. As with all things the balance is crucial in ensuring that there is enough nitrogen so that plants will not flourish, resulting in low yields of crops. However, excessive nitrogen is harmful to plants as well as harming the ecosystem. Plants lacking enough nitrogen will turn yellow and don’t grow well and could have smaller fruits and flowers. Farmers can use nitrogen fertilizers to improve the quality of their crops however, too much nitrogen can harm animals and plants, and end up in our water systems. Knowing the Nitrogen Cycle, which explains how nitrogen is moved from the earth to the atmosphere through soils, and then back to the atmosphere in an endless cycle–can assist us in growing healthy crops and help protect our natural environment.


Nitrogen, also known as N by its abbreviation in science is a colorless and smell, and colorless element. Nitrogen is present in the soil beneath our feet as well as in the water we drink, as well as in the air that we breathe. Nitrogen is one of the main elements found in Earth’s atmosphere. Around 78% of the air is nitrogen! The importance of nitrogen is to all living creatures including us. It plays an essential role in the growth of plants: too low levels of nitrogen can cause plants to not flourish, which can result in lower yields of crops; however, excessive nitrogen may cause harm to plants 11. Nitrogen is essential for your food production, however, excessive nitrogen could harm the environment.


A delicate equilibrium of the substances which are essential for the maintenance of living things is a crucial field of study including the equilibrium of nitrogen within the ecosystem is not an exception. 22. When plants do not have enough nitrogen, they turn yellow and grow slower, producing smaller fruits and flowers. Farmers may apply fertilizers that contain nitrogen to their plants to boost the growth of their crops. If nitrogen fertilizers were not available, researchers estimate that we’d be losing up to a third of all the plants we depend on for food as well as other kinds of agriculture. We must be aware of the amount of nitrogen needed to grow plants, as excessive amounts of nitrogen can cause pollution to lakes, harming aquatic life.


The element of nitrogen is vital in the nucleic acid DNA

Deoxyribonucleic acid is a self-replicating substance that can be found in virtually every living thing as the principal component of chromosomes. It is also the is the carrier of genetic information.

and The RNARibonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that exists throughout living cells is a messenger that carries instructions from DNA. They are the most crucial of all living molecules. They are vital for all living creatures. DNA is the source of genetic information, which is the guidelines for how to create an organism. If plants don’t get enough nitrogen, they’re unable to make amino acids (substances that contain hydrogen and nitrogen that comprise a large portion of living tissues, muscles, and cells). In the absence of amino acids, plant cells can’t create the specific proteins plants need to develop. Without sufficient nitrogen, the growth of plants is affected negatively. When there is too much nitrogen in the soil plants generate an excess amount of biomass, or organic matter, like leaves and stalks, however, there is lacking the proper root structure. In extreme instances plants with extremely large amounts of nitrogen from soils could poison farm animals who eat the plants 3 ].


Leaching or draining from the soil into groundwater sources could enter the water system as above-ground runoff. The nitrogen excess can be accumulated, causing the process known as the process of eutrophication.

An excessive quantity of nutrients (such as nitrogen) in the body of water. This results in a rapid increase in the number of aquatic plants like algae.

. Eutrophication occurs when excessive nitrogen is added to the water, leading to an overgrowth of algae and plants. A high concentration of nitrogen may cause the lake to change to bright green or other hues and a “bloom” of smelly algae that is known as phytoplanktonTiny tiny marine algae (also called microalgae) which require sunlight to expand. (see Figure 1 )! If the phytoplankton dies microbes living in the water break down the dead phytoplankton. Decomposition decreases the amount of oxygen dissolved in the water. This can result in the formation of a “dead zone” that does not contain enough oxygen to sustain all organisms. Organisms living in the dead zone die due to a deficiency of oxygen. Dead zones can be found in freshwater lakes as well as in coastal areas in which rivers brimming with fertilizers from agriculture runoff (fertilizer overflow) enter oceans. 4 ].

How Do Animals Get Nitrogen
how do animals get nitrogen
  • Illustration 1: Eutrophication of the outlet of wastewater within the Potomac River, Washington, D.C.
  • The water in this river is bright green because it has undergone eutrophication, due to excess nitrogen and other nutrients polluting the water, which has led to increased phytoplankton and algal blooms, so the water has become cloudy and can turn different colors, such as green, yellow, red, or brown, depending on the algal blooms (Wikimedia Commons: 
How Do Animals Get Nitrogen
how do animals get the nitrogen they need
  • Figure 2 – Eutrophication stages.
  • (1) Excess nutrients end up in the soil and the ground. (2) Some nutrients are dissolved by water and leak or leach into the soil’s deeper layers. They eventually drain into a water body like a lake or a pond. (3) Some nutrients drain off of the soils and are absorbed directly to the surface of the water. (4) The extra nutrients trigger algae to flourish. (5) Sunlight is blocked by algae. (6) Photosynthesis and the growth of plants on the water’s surface will be reduced or possibly reduced or even stopped. (7) Next the algae bloom will die and then falls into the base of the body of water. Then, the bacteria begin to disintegrate or break up the remaining pieces and consume oxygen to complete the process. (8) The decomposition process causes water to be depleted of oxygen levels, resulting in “dead zones.” Bigger organisms like fish can’t breathe and then die. The water body has suffered the process of eutrophication.

Can eutrophication be stopped? Yes! Water resource managers can employ a variety of strategies to limit the negative consequences of algae blooms as well as the eutrophication that occurs on water surfaces. They can redirect nutrients away from lakes and fragile coastal zones, and use herbicides (chemicals employed to eliminate unwanted plants) as well as algaecides (chemicals that destroy algae) to end the algae blooms and decrease the quantity or the combination of nutrients that are used in agricultural fertilizers, in addition to other strategies 55. However, it may be difficult to pinpoint the source of the excess fertilizer and the other nutrients.

When a lake is undergoing a eutrophication process, it’s difficult to manage the damage. Algaecides can be costly however they don’t address the root of the issue: the excessive nitrogen, or any other nutrients which contributed to this algae growth in the initial place! A different option is a bioremediation.

Utilizing other microorganisms, or tiny living organisms to digest and break down the pollution to clear the site of pollution.

It is the act of intentionally altering the food web of an aquatic ecosystem to decrease or limit levels of phytoplankton. For instance, water managers could introduce organisms that consume phytoplankton and these creatures can decrease the amount of phytoplankton. They do this by eating the algae!


The nitrogen cycle can be described as a cycle of processes in which nitrogen travels through living and non-living items including the atmosphere, soil and water, plants, animals, and organisms.

Microscopic living creatures typically comprise only one cell and can be found all over. Bacteria can trigger decomposition or the breaking down of organic matter in soils.

. To travel through the various parts of the process, nitrogen needs to transform into different forms. Within the air, nitrogen is present as gas (N 2 ) However, in the soil, it’s found in the form of Nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide NO 2 And when it is employed as a fertilizer can be found in various forms, like ammonia, NH 3 This can be further made to produce a different fertilizer ammonium-nitrate, also known as NH 4 NO 3.

There are five steps in the nitrogen cycle and we’ll discuss each of them individually Fixation or volatilization immobilization, mineralization, nitrification, and denitrification. In this photo soil, microbes convert the nitrogen gas (N 2) into what’s known as volatile ammonia (NH 3) and the process of fixing is known as volatilization. Leaching

If an elemental or chemical (such as nitrate or NO3) disappears from soil or other ground materials and then leaks into the surrounding area.

is the place where certain forms of nitrogen are found. (such as nitrate or NO) can be found. 3 ) dissolves in water, and then leaks out from the soil, possibly contaminating waterways.


In this phase, nitrogen is absorbed from the air into the soil. The atmosphere of Earth contains a massive reservoir of nitrogen gases (N 2). However, the nitrogen gas can be “unavailable” to plants, since the gaseous form can’t be utilized directly by plants, without undergoing the process of transformation. To be utilized by plants in this way, nitrogen 2 has to be transformed by the process known as nitrogen fixation. Fixation converts nitrogen that is present in the atmosphere into forms plants can absorb via the roots of their systems.

A tiny amount of nitrogen is repaired when lightning supplies the energy required for N 2 to react with oxygen and produce Nitrogen oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide N2 2. This nitrogen-based form can get into soils via precipitation or snow. The nitrogen can also be fixed by the industrial process that produces fertilizer. This method of fixing takes place at high temperatures and pressure and during the process, atmospheric nitrogen and hydrogen are combined to produce ammonia (NH 3) that is then further processed to create ammonium in nitrate (NH 4NO 3) an encapsulated form of nitrogen that is added to soils and utilized by plants.

The majority of nitrogen fixation happens naturally in soil and is carried out by bacteria. In the picture in Diagram 3. (above), you can observe nitrogen fixation as well as the exchange of forms that occur in soil. Certain bacteria adhere to the roots of plants and have a synbiotic (beneficial to both plants as well as the bacteria) relationship with the plant 6.]. The bacteria generate energy through photosynthesis, and in return, they convert nitrogen into the form that the plant requires. The nitrogen fixed is transferred to other areas of the plant and utilized to create plant tissues so that the plant can develop. Other bacteria can be found in water or soils and can fix nitrogen in the absence of a symbiotic connection. They can also make varieties of nitrogen that can be utilized by living organisms.

How Do Animals Get Nitrogen
how do animals get nitrogen brainly
  • 3. Stages of the nitrogen cycle.
  • It is the Nitrogen Cycle: Nitrogen cycling through various forms within soil determines the amount of nitrogen that is available for plants to take in. Source:


This process occurs inside the soil. The nitrogen is transferred from organic substances like manure or plant material, to the inorganic forms of nitrogen that plants can utilize. The plant’s nutrients eventually are depleted which causes the plant to die and decay. This becomes crucial in the second phase of the cycle of nitrogen. Mineralization occurs when microbes act on organic material like animal manure or decaying plant or animal material and convert it into the form of nitrogen that is utilized by plants. Every plant that is under cultivation is able to use nitrogen, except legumes

Peas belong to the same family of plants: soybeans, beans, lentils, and peanuts are seeds of plants that split in half.

(plants with seeds that split in two like beans, lentils peas, peanuts, or peas) obtain the nitrogen they require from the soil. They get nitrogen from fixation, which occurs within their root nodules, which is previously mentioned.

The initial form of nitrogen that is produced through mineralization is called ammonia. NH 3. It is NH 3 in soil that reacts with water to create ammonium NH 4, The ammonium is absorbed by the soil and is readily available to plants that are not getting nitrogen from the symbiotic nitrogen fixation relationship mentioned above.


A third phase, nitrification is also found in soils. Through nitrification, the ammonia that is present in soils, created during mineralization, gets converted into compounds known as nitrites N2O 2. (NO 2 and nitrates no 3. and NO 3. Nitrates are used by animals and plants that consume plants. Certain bacteria found in soil transform ammonia into Nitrites. While nitrite can’t be directly utilized by animals or plants, other bacteria may convert nitrites to nitrates – a type that is usable by animals and plants. This process provides energy to the bacteria involved in this reaction. The bacteria we’re talking about are known as Nitrosomonas as well as Nitrobacter. Nitrobacter transforms nitrites into ammonia; Nitrosomonas convert it into nitrites. Both types of bacteria perform their functions only when there is a presence of oxygen and oxygen 2 O 2 77. Nitrification is crucial to plants since it generates an extra amount of nitrogen, which can be taken up by plants via roots.


The fourth phase is part of the nitrogen cycle immobilization. This is sometimes referred to as being the opposite process of mineralization. Both processes are responsible for controlling how much nitrogen is present in soils. Similar to plant life, microorganisms

A living thing or living thing which is too small to be observed with the aid of a microscope. For instance, bacteria.

The soil microorganisms need nitrogen as a fuel source. The soil microorganisms draw nitrogen out of the soil when decomposing plant residues are not able to hold enough nitrogen. When microorganisms consume ammonium (NH 4 + ) and Nitrate (NO 3  ) These types of nitrogen are not available to plants and can result in nitrogen deficiency or an absence of nitrogen. Immobilization is a method of tying the nitrogen within microorganisms. Immobilization is crucial as it allows you to control and regulate the nitrogen content of the soil by binding the nitrogen up or immobilizing nitrogen in microorganisms.


In the fifth phase that the nitrogen cycle goes through nitrogen is released back into the atmosphere in the form of nitrates, which are transformed into atmosphere-level nitrogen (N 2) through a process called denitrification. The result is a total disappearance of nitrogen from soils as the gaseous nitrogen goes into the atmosphere which is back to where we started our journey.


The cycle of nitrogen throughout the ecosystem is essential for keeping healthy and productive ecosystems that do not have excessive or insufficient nitrogen. The production of plants, as well as biomass (living material), is restricted by the amount of nitrogen available. Knowing how the nitrogen cycle of soil and plants cycle operates will help us make better choices regarding what crops to cultivate and where to plant them so that we can have enough food. Understanding the nitrogen cycle could assist in reducing pollution caused by the addition of too much fertilizer into soils. Certain plants can absorb additional nitrogen or other nutrients, like the fertilizer phosphorous, and even act as a “buffer,” or filter to stop excess fertilizer from getting into waterways. A study, for instance, conducted by Haycock and Pinay ([[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[ 88 tree ( Populus Italica) employed as buffers retained nearly 99% of the nitrate that enters the underground flow of water during winter. A riverbank area that was covered by a particular grass ( Lolium perenne L.) can hold as much as 84% nitrogen, stopping it from getting into the river.

As you’ve seen the lack of nitrogen in soils makes plants hungry, and excessive amounts in a positive way could be harmful: excessive nitrogen could poison plants and livestock! The contamination of our water sources caused by excess nitrogen as well as other nutrients can be a major issue as marine life is suffering due to the decay from dead blooms of algae. Farmers and communities must strive to increase the absorption of these nutrients from crops and also take care to properly dispose of animal manure. Also, we need to safeguard the buffer zones of plants that can absorb nitrogen runoff before it reaches the water bodies. However, our current practices of clearing trees for roads and other infrastructures exacerbate the problem because there are fewer plants to absorb excessive nutrients. We must conduct more studies to determine which species will thrive in coastal areas to take over excess nitrogen. Also, we must find alternative ways to solve or prevent the issue of excess nitrogen spilling into the aquatic ecosystems. If we work towards an understanding that is more comprehensive about the nitrogen cycle as well as other processes that play out in the interconnected natural systems of Earth we will be able to better understand how to protect Earth’s natural resources.


DNA| Deoxyribonucleic Acid, is a self-replicating matter that is found in almost every living thing as the principal component of chromosomes. It is also it is the main carrier of genetic information.

The RNA| Ribonucleic acids a nucleic acid that is present throughout living cells and is a messenger that carries instructions from DNA.

Eutrophication| A high quantity of nutrients (such as nitrogen) in the body of water leads to a large increase in the number of aquatic plants like algae.

Phytoplankton| Microscopically tiny marine algae (also called microalgae) which require sunlight to develop.

Bioremediation| Utilizing other microorganisms or small living things to consume and break down pollutants to help clean up an area of pollution.

Bacteria| Microorganisms living in a microscopic form typically have only one cell, and are found all over the world. Bacteria may cause decomposition, or break down organic matter in soils.

Leaching| Leaching occurs when an elemental or chemical (such as nitrate, NO 3) disappears from soil or another ground substance and then leaks into the areas around it.

Legumes| Legumes are a part of the pea family of plants: beans and lentils, soybeans peanuts, and peas are seeds of plants that split in half.

Microorganism| A living organism or living thing, which is too small to be seen with microscopes, for instance, bacteria.


The author states that the study was conducted without the presence of any financial or commercial relations that could be interpreted as a conflict of interest.

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