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The Nitrogen Cycle in Terrestrial Ecosystems

  • Ann McNeill
  • Murray Unkovich
Part of the Soil Biology book series (SOILBIOL, volume 10)

Abstract

The terrestrial nitrogen (N) cycle comprises soil, plant and animal pools that contain relatively small quantities of biologically active N, in comparison to the large pools of relatively inert N in the lithosphere and atmosphere, but that nevertheless exert a substantial influence on the dynamics of the global biogeochemical N cycle. After carbon (ca. 400 g kg−1) and oxygen (ca. 450 g kg−1), N is the next most abundant element in plant dry matter, typically 10–30 g kg−1. It is a key component of plant amino and nucleic acids, and chlorophyll, and is usually acquired by plants in greater quantity from the soil than any other element. Plant N provides the basis for the dietary N (protein) of all animals, including humans.

Keywords

Nitric Oxide Microbial Biomass Terrestrial Ecosystem Nitrogen Cycle Soil Biol 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ann McNeill
    • 1
  • Murray Unkovich
    • 1
  1. 1.Soil and Land Systems, School of Earth and Environmental SciencesThe University of AdelaideAustralia

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