Atmospheric nitrogen (N2) by itself can’t be used by plants, so it needs to be turned into a more accessible compound, such as ammonium (NH4+) or nitrate (NO3-). This is often done by nitrogen-fixing bacteria such as Rhizobium that can be found in the roots of some legume plants. This is beneficial for both the bacteria and the plant, as they both need nitrogen to survive and allows the basteria to fix a larger amount of atmospheric nitrogen. Nitrogen fixation is the conversion of atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia.
Nitrogen is a major component of chlorophyll, which is essential for photosynthesis. It is also essential for proteins and amino acids, which are of course important to all living things.
In short: nitrogen plays some of almost every plant function – structural, genetic, and metabolic.
See the PDF linked below for more information.
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