Definition

An element with the atomic symbol N, atomic number 7, and atomic weight [14.00643; 14.00728]. Nitrogen exists as a diatomic gas and makes up about 78% of the earth's atmosphere by volume. It is a constituent of proteins and nucleic acids and found in all living cells. Used as a propellant and aerating agent in foods At atmospheric pressure molecular nitrogen condenses (liquifies) at 77 K (?195.8 °C) and freezes at 63 K (?210.0 °C) into the beta hexagonal close-packed crystal allotropic form. Below 35.4 K (?237.6 °C) nitrogen assumes the alpha cubic crystal allotropic form. Liquid nitrogen, a fluid resembling water in appearance, but with 80.8% of the density (the density of liquid nitrogen at its boiling point is 0.808 g/mL), is a common cryogen.; Elemental nitrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless and mostly inert diatomic gas at standard conditions, constituting 78% by volume of Earth's atmosphere. Nitrogen occurs in all living organisms. It is a constituent element of amino acids and therefore of proteins and nucleic acids (DNA and RNA). Nitrogen is found in the chemical structure of almost all neurotransmitters and is a key component of alkaloids. Specific bacteria (e.g. Rhizobium trifolium) possess nitrogenase enzymes which can fix atmospheric nitrogen into a form (ammonium ion) which is chemically useful to higher organisms. Animals use nitrogen-containing amino acids from plant sources, as starting materials for all nitrogen-compound animal biochemistry, including the manufacture of proteins and nucleic acids. Animal metabolism of NO (nitric oxide) results in production of nitrite. Animal metabolism of nitrogen in proteins generally results in excretion of urea, while animal metabolism of nucleic acids results in excretion of urea and uric acid. The characteristic odor of animal flesh decay is caused by nitrogen-containing long-chain amines, such as putrescine and cadaverine. Decay of organisms and their waste products may produce small amounts of nitrate, but most decay eventually returns nitrogen content to the atmosphere, as molecular nitrogen. The circulation of nitrogen from the atmosphere through organics and then back to the atmosphere is commonly referred to as the nitrogen cycle.; Liquid nitrogen is a cryogenic liquid. At atmospheric pressure, it boils at ?195.8 °C. When insulated in proper containers such as Dewar flasks, it can be transported without much evaporative loss.[citation needed]; Molecular nitrogen (14N2) is largely transparent to infrared and visible radiation because it is a homonuclear molecule and thus has no dipole moment to couple to electromagnetic radiation at these wavelengths. Significant absorption occurs at extreme ultraviolet wavelengths, beginning around 100 nanometers. This is associated with electronic transitions in the molecule to states in which charge is not distributed evenly between nitrogen atoms. Nitrogen absorption leads to significant absorption of ultraviolet radiation in the Earth's upper atmosphere as well as in the atmospheres of other planetary bodies. For similar reasons, pure molecular nitrogen lasers typically emit light in the ultraviolet range.; Molecular nitrogen and nitrogen compounds have been detected in interstellar space by astronomers using the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer. Molecular nitrogen is a major constituent of the Saturnian moon Titan's thick atmosphere, and occurs in trace amounts in other planetary atmospheres.; Nitrogen (pronounced /?na?tr?d??n/) is a chemical element that has the symbol N and atomic number 7 and atomic mass 14.00674 u. Elemental nitrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless and mostly inert diatomic gas at standard conditions, constituting 78% by volume of Earth's atmosphere.; Nitrogen gas is an industrial gas produced by the fractional distillation of liquid air, or by mechanical means using gaseous air (i.e. pressurized reverse osmosis membrane or Pressure swing adsorption). Commercial nitrogen is often a byproduct of air-processing for industrial concentration of oxygen for steelmaking and other purposes. When supplied compressed in cylinders it is often referred to as OFN (oxygen-free nitrogen).; Nitrogen is a constituent of molecules in every major drug class in pharmacology and medicine. Nitrous oxide (N2O) was discovered early in the 19th century to be a partial anesthetic, though it was not used as a surgical anesthetic until later. Called 'laughing gas', it was found capable of inducing a state of social disinhibition resembling drunkenness. Other notable nitrogen-containing drugs are drugs derived from plant alkaloids, such as morphine (there exist many alkaloids known to have pharmacological effects; in some cases they appear natural chemical defenses of plants against predation). Nitrogen containing drugs include all of the major classes of antibiotics, and organic nitrate drugs like nitroglycerin and nitroprusside which regulate blood pressure and heart action by mimicking the action of nitric oxide.; Nitrogen is a nonmetal, with an electronegativity of 3.04. It has five electrons in its outer shell and is therefore trivalent in most compounds. The triple bond in molecular nitrogen (N2) is the strongest in nature. The resulting difficulty of converting N2 into other compounds, and the ease (and associated high energy release) of converting nitrogen compounds into elemental N2, have dominated the role of nitrogen in both nature and human economic activities.; Nitrogen is an essential building block of amino and nucleic acids, essential to life on Earth.; Nitrogen is notable for the range of explosively unstable compounds that it can produce. Nitrogen triiodide NI3 is an extremely sensitive contact explosive. Nitrocellulose, produced by nitration of cellulose with nitric acid, is also known as guncotton. Nitroglycerin, made by nitration of glycerin, is the dangerously unstable explosive ingredient of dynamite. The comparatively stable, but more powerful explosive trinitrotoluene (TNT) is the standard explosive against which the power of nuclear explosions are measured.; Nitrogen is present in all living organisms, in proteins, nucleic acids and other molecules. It typically makes up around 4% of the dry weight of plant matter, and around 3% of the weight of the human body. It is a large component of animal waste (for example, guano), usually in the form of urea, uric acid, ammonium compounds and derivatives of these nitrogenous products, which are essential nutrients for all plants that are unable to fix atmospheric nitrogen.; Other classes of nitrogen anions (negatively charged ions) are the poisonous azides (N?3), which are linear and isoelectronic to carbon dioxide, but which bind to important iron-containing enzymes in the body in a manner more resembling cyanide. Another molecule of the same structure is the colorless and relatively inert anesthetic gas Nitrous oxide (dinitrogen monoxide, N2O), also known as laughing gas. This is one of a variety of nitrogen oxides that form a family often abbreviated as NOx. Nitric oxide (nitrogen monoxide, NO), is a natural free radical used in signal transduction in both plants and animals, for example in vasodilation by causing the smooth muscle of blood vessels to relax. The reddish and poisonous nitrogen dioxide NO2 contains an unpaired electron and is an important component of smog. Nitrogen molecules containing unpaired electrons show an understandable tendency to dimerize (thus pairing the electrons), and are generally highly reactive. The corresponding acids are nitrous HNO2 and nitric acid HNO3, with the corresponding salts called nitrites and nitrates.; Radioisotope 16N is the dominant radionuclide in the coolant of pressurized water reactors during normal operation. It is produced from 16O (in water) via (n,p) reaction. It has a short half-life of about 7.1 s, but during its decay back to 16O produces high-energy gamma radiation (5 to 7 MeV). Because of this, the access to the primary coolant piping must be restricted during reactor power operation. 16N is one of the main means used to immediately detect even small leaks from the primary coolant to the secondary steam cycle.; Rapid release of nitrogen gas into an enclosed space can displace oxygen, and therefore represents an asphyxiation hazard. This may happen with few warning symptoms, since the human carotid body is a relatively slow and a poor low-oxygen (hypoxia) sensing system. An example occurred shortly before the launch of the first Space Shuttle mission in 1981, when two technicians lost consciousness and died after they walked into a space located in the Shuttle's Mobile Launcher Platform that was pressurized with pure nitrogen as a precaution against fire. The technicians would have been able to exit the room if they had experienced early symptoms from nitrogen-breathing.; Soluble nitrate is an important limiting factor in the growth of certain bacteria in ocean waters[citation needed]. In many places in the world, artificial fertilizers applied to crop-lands to increase yields result in run-off delivery of soluble nitrogen to oceans at river mouths. This process can result in eutrophication of the water, as nitrogen-driven bacterial growth depletes water oxygen to the point that all higher organisms die. Well-known 'dead zone' areas in the U.S. Gulf Coast and the Black Sea are due to this important polluting process.; The ability to combine or fix molecular nitrogen is a key feature of modern industrial chemistry, where nitrogen and natural gas are converted into ammonia via the Haber process. Ammonia, in turn, can be used directly (primarily as a fertilizer, and in the synthesis of nitrated fertilizers), or as a precursor of many other important materials including explosives, largely via the production of nitric acid by the Ostwald process.; The element nitrogen was discovered by Daniel Rutherford, a Scottish physician, in 1772. Nitrogen occurs in all living organisms. It is a constituent element of amino acids and thus of proteins, and of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA). It resides in the chemical structure of almost all neurotransmitters, and is a defining component of alkaloids, biological molecules produced by many organisms.; The higher oxides dinitrogen trioxide N2O3, dinitrogen tetroxide N2O4 and dinitrogen pentoxide N2O5, are fairly unstable and explosive, a consequence of the chemical stability of N2. N2O4 is one of the most important oxidizers of rocket fuels, used to oxidize hydrazine in the Titan rocket and in the recent NASA MESSENGER probe to Mercury. N2O4 is an intermediate in the manufacture of nitric acid HNO3, one of the few acids stronger than hydronium and a fairly strong oxidizing agent.; The organic and inorganic salts of nitric acid have been important historically as convenient stores of chemical energy. They include important compounds such as potassium nitrate (or saltpeter used in gunpowder) and ammonium nitrate, an important fertilizer and explosive (see ANFO). Various other nitrated organic compounds, such as nitroglycerin and trinitrotoluene, and nitrocellulose, are used as explosives and propellants for modern firearms. Nitric acid is used as an oxidizing agent in liquid fueled rockets. Hydrazine and hydrazine derivatives find use as rocket fuels and monopropellants. In most of these compounds, the basic instability and tendency to burn or explode is derived from the fact that nitrogen is present as an oxide, and not as the far more stable nitrogen molecule (N2) which is a product of the compounds' thermal decomposition. When nitrates burn or explode, the formation of the powerful triple bond in the N2 produces most of the energy of the reaction.

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