4. The Global Nitrogen Cycle

  1. Andrew H. Knoll2,
  2. Donald E. Canfield3 and
  3. Kurt O. Konhauser4
  1. Bess Ward

Published Online: 29 MAR 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118280874.ch4

Fundamentals of Geobiology

Fundamentals of Geobiology

How to Cite

Ward, B. (2012) The Global Nitrogen Cycle, in Fundamentals of Geobiology (eds A. H. Knoll, D. E. Canfield and K. O. Konhauser), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118280874.ch4

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge MA 02138, USA

  2. 3

    Institute of Biology Nordic Center for Earth Evolution, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, DK-5230 Odense M, Denmark

  3. 4

    Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2E3, Canada

Author Information

  1. Department of Geosciences, Princeton University, Princeton NJ 08540 USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 29 MAR 2012
  2. Published Print: 20 APR 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781118280812

Online ISBN: 9781118280874



  • global nitrogen cycle, anthropogenic perturbations;
  • geological nitrogen cycle;
  • organic N, and the global N inventory;
  • organic N degradation, accumulation in soils, sediments;
  • excess N loading from atmospheric, and eutrophication;
  • human alterations of N cycle, surface water acidification;
  • biological N cycle, domain of microbes;
  • nitrogen fixing microbes, nifH, gene encoding azoferredoxin;
  • versatile redox chemistry of nitrogen, the linked reactions;
  • fixed nitrogen on Earth, and denitrification/anammox


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Introduction

  • Geological nitrogen cycle

  • Components of the global nitrogen cycle

  • Nitrogen redox chemistry

  • Biological reactions of the nitrogen cycle

  • Atmospheric nitrogen chemistry

  • Summary and areas for future research

  • References