13 Difference between Nitrification and Denitrification with Table

What is the difference between nitrification and denitrification?

Nitrogen is a crucial element of life on earth. It is a component found in proteins and nucleic acid. The nitrogen cycle is the process through which nitrogen circulates in the environment.

The nitrogen cycle occurs in different stages such as nitrogen fixation, nitrification, nitrogen assimilation, nitrogen ammonification, and denitrification.

The main difference between nitrification and denitrification is that the former is a biological process of converting ammonia into nitrates while the latter is a process of converting nitrates into nitrogen gas.

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Difference between Nitrification and Denitrification

Comparison Table (Nitrification vs Denitrification)

Basic Terms Nitrification Denitrification
MeaningIt is a stage of the nitrogen cycle where ammonia is converted into nitratesIt is a biological process of converting nitrates into nitrogen gas
ProcessInvolves conversion of reducing nitrogen species into oxidize nitrogen speciesInvolves conversion of oxidizing nitrogen species into reducing nitrogen species
End ProductsNitratesNitrogen gas
SubstrateAmmonia or Ammonium ionNitrates
MicroorganismsNitrosomonas and NitrobacterThiobacillus and Pseudomonas
InhibitorsSulfur-containing compounds and N-heterocyclic compounds.Vapam, acetylene, and cyanide
TemperatureRange from 20-30°CRanges from 26°C to 38°C
pHFlourishes between 6.5 and 8.0Flourishes between 7.0 to 9.0
NutritionChemoautotrophicHeterotrophic
Oxygen ConcentrationHighLow
Nitrogen CycleSecond stageLast stage
StepsConsists of two reaction stepsOccur through a series of the half-reaction
ImportanceProvide nitrates to the plantWastewater treatment and ideal for aquatic habitat

What Is Nitrification?

Nitrification is the second stage of the nitrogen cycle where ammonia is converted into nitrates. The conversion process can either be chemical or biological.

Ammonia is a reduced form of organic and inorganic nitrogen while nitrates are an oxidized forms of nitrogen. Therefore, nitrification is an oxidation process.

Nitrification is mediated by microorganisms and it is quite beneficial to these microbes since they obtain energy to facilitate their growth.

The bacteria responsible for nitrification are autotrophic and the process occurs under aerobic conditions. Keep in mind that too many nitrates are toxic to plants.

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What Is Denitrification?

Denitrification is the process of converting nitrates into nitrogen gas. Therefore, denitrification is a reduction process. The action is performed by Lactobacillus, Spirillum, and Pseudomonas bacteria.

Most of these microorganisms are heterotrophs and the reaction occur under anaerobic condition. The process is beneficial for aquatic habitat and also wastewater treatment.

Main Difference between Nitrification and Denitrification

  1. Nitrification occurs under aerobic conditions whereas denitrification occurs under anaerobic conditions.
  2. Nitrification is the conversion of ammonia into nitrates while denitrification is the conversion of nitrates into nitrogen gas
  3. Nitrification is an oxidation process while denitrification is a reduction process
  4. The substrate of nitrification is ammonia while that of denitrification is nitrates
  5. The end product of nitrification is nitrates whereas that of denitrification is nitrogen gas
  6. Nitrification provide nitrates to plants while denitrification is ideal for wastewater treatment
  7. Nitrification consist of two reaction steps whereas denitrification consists of half series of reaction
  8. Microorganisms involved in nitrification are Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter while those of denitrification are Thiobacillus and Pseudomonas
  9. Nitrification grows slowly while denitrification grows rapidly
  10. Nitrifiers are more sensitive to environmental stresses while denitrifier are less sensitive to environmental stresses

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Comparison Video

Summary

Nitrification and denitrification are the main stages of the nitrogen cycle. Nitrogen is an essential element of life on earth. Nitrification has a high oxygen concentration and denitrification has a low oxygen concentration.

The core difference between nitrification and denitrification brainly is that nitrification is the process of converting ammonia to nitrates while denitrification is the process of converting nitrates into nitrogen gas.

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