Introduction

This article presents a scientific overview of the process of ammonification. The first section provides a scientific overview of the relevant components of the nitrogen cycle related to ammonification. The subsequent sections emphasize important processes and mechanisms affecting ammonification in soil, water, and atmosphere ecosystems.

A complete study of the nitrogen cycle and its interactions requires contributions from biology (to understand how nonreactive atmospheric nitrogen is 'fixed'; molecular nitrogen (dinitrogen, N2) is reduced into oxidized forms that can be assimilated by plants, by certain blue-green algae, and some genera of bacteria (e.g., Rhizobium spp.; Azotobacter spp.); chemistry (to understand how nitrogen transformations between organic and inorganic components are influenced by pH, temperature, and oxidation-reduction status); mathematics (to model how nitrogen cycling processes vary in space and time); climatology (to understand climate influences on the flow of nutrients through biogeochemical cycles); hydrology (to understand the dynamic cycling and pathways of nitrogen associated with water); environmental physics (to understand how nitrogen losses from soil-water-atmosphere-plant systems affect the local, regional, and global environments), and medicine (to understand nitrogen-related illnesses).

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