Where do algae get their nitrogen from?

boldt at math.ucsb.edu boldt at math.ucsb.edu
Sat Oct 24 22:18:35 EST 1998

mdonken at artsci.wustl.edu (Michael Dorsett Onken) wrote:

> axelboldt at my-dejanews.com wrote:

> : how do cyano bacteria and algae take in nitrogen?

> Algae get their nitrogen the same way higher plants do: from nitrates and
> nitrogenous compounds in the water.
> Cyanobacteria are a different story because they can also fix nitrogen,
> i.e. convert elemental nitrogen, N2, into molecular nitrogen like ammonia.
> Our atmosphere is 80% N2, and the gas is soluble in water, so there is
> plenty of it available for them to fix.
> (Nitrogen gas and ammonia are sufficiently small and non-polar to pass
> directly through the plasma membrane without assistance.)

Very interesting, thank you very much. The nitrates and other nitrogenous
compounds that the algae need, are they all produced by the cyanobacteria, or
are there other processes at work which produce them?


  Axel Boldt ** boldt at math.ucsb.edu ** math-www.uni-paderborn.de/~axel

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