Biology Carbon and Nitrogen Cycle


Nitrogen Cycle 1

Nitrogen is essential for the formation of amino acids in proteins. The nitrogen cycle is a model that explains how nitrogen is recycled.

Diagram showing the 3 different ways of nitrogen fixation (

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Nitrogen Cycle 2

how nitrogen compounds are passed on by animals eating plants (

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Nitrogen Cycle 3

Diagram showing how nitrogen compounds are returned to the soil by excretion and egestion from animals (

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Nitrogen Cycle 4

Diagram showing how nitrogen compounds are returned to the soil when plants and animals die and decay. (

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Nitrogen Cycle 5

Step 5 - conversion of nitrates to nitrogen by dentrifying bacteria (

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Nitrogen Cycle 6

  1. Nitrogen gas is converted to nitrate compounds by nitrogen-fixing bacteria in soil or root nodules. Lightning also converts nitrogen gas to nitrate compounds. The Haber process converts nitrogen gas into ammonia used in fertilizers. Ammonia is converted to nitrates by nitrifying bacteriain the soil.
  2. Plants absorb nitrates from the soil and use these to build up proteins. The plant may be eaten by an animal, and its biomass used to produce animal protein.
  3. Urea and egested material is broken down by decomposers. This results in nitrogen being returned to the soil as ammonia.
  4. Decomposers also break down the bodies of dead organisms resulting in nitrogen being returned to the soil as ammonia.
  5. Higher only: In some conditions denitrifying bacteria in the soil break down nitrates and return nitrogen to the air. This is usually in waterlogged soil. Improving drainage reduces this effect, making the soil more fertile.
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Carbon Cycle 1

Most of the chemicals that make up living tissue contain carbon. When organismsdie the carbon is recycled so that it can be used by future generations. The model that describes the processes involved is called the carbon cycle.

Step 1 - carbon in the atmosphere can come from the respiration of plants and animals, and combustion (burning of fuels) (

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Carbon Cycle 2

Step 2 - plants perform photosynthesis which removes carbon from the air. Plants are eaten by animals. (

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Carbon Cycle 3

Step 3 - animals die and decay  (

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Carbon Cycle 4

Step 4 - decay of animals goes back into the earth, fossilisation occurs under suitable conditions  (

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Carbon Cycle 5

  1. Carbon enters the atmosphere as carbon dioxide from respiration and combustion.
  2. Carbon dioxide is absorbed by producers to make carbohydrates in photosynthesis.
  3. Animals feed on the plant passing the carbon compounds along the food chain. Most of the carbon they consume is exhaled as carbon dioxideformed during respiration. The animals and plants eventually die.
  4. The dead organisms are eaten by decomposers and the carbon in their bodies is returned to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. In some conditions decomposition is blocked. The plant and animal material may then be available as fossil fuel in the future for combustion.

In the sea, marine animals may convert some carbon in their diet to calcium carbonate which makes their shells. over time the shells of dead organims collect on the seabed and form limestone. Due to Earh movements this limestone eventually becomes eposed ti the air where it is weathered and the carbon is released back into the atmosphere as carbon is released back into the atmosphere as carbon diioxide.

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