Difference Between Nitrogen Fixation and Nitrification

Main Difference

The main difference between nitrogen fixation and nitrogen is that the nitrogen fixation refers as the process of alteration of nitrogen gas nitrogen-containing compounds, whereas the nitrification is an alteration of ammonium ions to nitrites and nitrates.

Nitrogen Fixation vs. Nitrification

Nitrogen fixation refers as the process of alteration of nitrogen gas into nitrogen-containing compounds, whereas the nitrification refers as the process of alteration of ammonium ions into nitrates and nitrites. Nitrogen fixation occurs by passing through the different industrial, biological, or atmospheric processes, whereas nitrification occurs with the help of nitrifying bacteria and soil-dwelling bacteria. Nitrogen fixation occurs as the first step during the nitrogen cycle, whereas nitrification occurs as the second step during the nitrogen cycle. Nitrogen fixation is the essential process in which nitrogen gas renovates into ammonium ions, whereas nitrification is the process in which ammonium ions renovates into nitrites and nitrates. Nitrogen fixation is the chemical process, whereas the nitrification is the biological process. Nitrogen fixation can occur through the biological, atmospheric, and industrial process, whereas nitrification can occur only with the help of nitrifying bacteria. Nitrogen fixation is not the oxidation process, whereas the nitrification is the oxidation process. The living microorganism participates in nitrogen fixation is called nitrogen fixers, whereas the living microorganism participates in nitrification is called nitrifying bacteria. Nitrogen fixation is an essential process for the nitrification, whereas the nitrification is not the essential process for nitrogen fixation.

Comparison Chart

Nitrogen fixationNitrification
The chemical process of conversion of nitrogen gas into nitrogen-containing compoundsThe biological process of conversion of ammonia or ammonium ions into nitrates and nitrites.
Final Products
Ammonium ions and ammoniaNitrites and nitrates
Microbes
Azatobacter, Rhizobium, Anabaena, Collema, Nostoc, etc.Nitrobacter, Nitrobacter, etc.
Importance
It is involved in the conversion of nitrogen gas into usable forms in the soil.It is involved in the production of available plant forms of nitrogen.
Microorganism
The microorganism which is involved in nitrogen fixation is called nitrogen fixersThe microorganism which is involved in nitrification is called nitrifying bacteria
Steps
It is the first step in the nitrogen cycleIt is the second step

What is Nitrogen Fixation?

Nitrogen fixation refers to the process of alteration of nitrogen gas into nitrogen-containing compounds. It is the process that occurs through biological, atmospheric, and industrial processes. Nitrogen fixation is the first step in the nitrogen cycle. It is the step that is essential for the nitrification. Its end products are ammonia or ammonium ions. It is the chemical process. The organisms that are involved in nitrogen fixation are called nitrogen fixers. The nitrogen fixers may be symbiont or free living. Nitrogen fixation is not an oxidation process. Nitrogen fixation is the first and essential process of the nitrogen cycle in which the atmospheric nitrogen gas changes into the nitrogen-containing compounds which are accessible for the plants as well. Animals and humans do not have a special mechanism for their nitrogen fixation. Also, almost 80% of nitrogen is present in the atmosphere, but plants and animals cannot take it directly so, they use a nitrogen fixation as a part of the nitrogen cycle. It is essential for life on earth.

Processes of Nitrogen Fixation

  • Biological Process: Nitrogen cycle is the best example of nitrogen fixation.
  • Industrial Process: Haber’s process is the example of nitrogen fixation in industry.
  • Atmospheric Process: Lightning is the process of nitrogen fixation in the atmosphere.

Microbes

Some aerobic bacteria are Azatobacter, pseudomonas, Alcaligenes, Nostoc, etc.

What is Nitrification?

Nitrification refers to the process which occurs with the help of soil-dwelling and nitrifying bacteria. Nitrification is the second major step of the nitrogen cycle. It is also an essential step of the nitrogen cycle. Its final products are nitrites and nitrates. It is the biological process. The organisms that are involved in nitrification are called nitrifying bacteria. Nitrification is the oxidation step. Nitrification is the essential process of nitrogen cycle which converts the ammonia or ammonium ions into plants accessible compounds. Bacteria usually carry out the nitrification. It is the process of oxidation of ammonia. In nitrification, enzymes are also involved. They are involved in the conversion of ammonium ions into the nitrites and nitrates.soil dwelling bacteria involve in the nitrification. Nitrification is a vital and important process of plant nutrition. This process performs in aerated soil. Nitrification always comes after the nitrogen fixation. Nitrification is the major process of capturing atmospheric nitrogen for plants and animals.

Microbes

Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter, etc.

Key Differences

  1. Nitrogen fixation refers to the process of alteration of nitrogen gas into nitrogen-containing compounds, whereas nitrification refers as the process of alteration of ammonium ions into nitrates and nitrites.
  2. Nitrogen fixation is the chemical process; on the other hand, nitrification is the biological process.
  3. Nitrogen fixation happens through the biological, industrial, and atmospheric process conversely nitrification happens with the help of soil nitrifying bacteria.
  4. Nitrogen fixation is not an oxidation process, whereas nitrification is the oxidation process.
  5. Nitrogen fixation is the first major step of the nitrogen cycle; on the other hand, nitrification is the second step of the nitrogen cycle.
  6. Nitrogen fixation has end products as ammonia or ammonium ions, whereas nitrification has end products as nitrites or nitrates.
  7. The microorganisms that are involved in nitrogen fixation are called nitrogen fixers, whereas the microorganisms that are involved in nitrification are called nitrifying bacteria.

Conclusion

The above discussion concludes that nitrogen fixation and nitrification both are the essential processes of the nitrogen cycle. Nitrogen fixation is the first major process of the nitrogen cycle in which atmospheric nitrogen is converted into the ammonia or ammonium ions, whereas the nitrification is the second major process of the nitrogen cycle in which converts the ammonia and ammonium ion into nitrites and nitrates.

Janet White

Janet White is a writer and blogger for Difference Wiki since 2015. She has a master's degree in science and medical journalism from Boston University. Apart from work, she enjoys exercising, reading, and spending time with her friends and family. Connect with her on Twitter @Janet__White

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