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Name: Janani V.
Status: student
Age: 14
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Dear Sir/madam,

I would like to ask a question based on the Nitrogen Cycle. I would like to ask a question which I was asked in a test and the answer to which neither me nor my teacher is sure of. The question is:

"Describe how nitrogenous wastes from animals are recycled and converted into a form that flowering plants can absorb"

Further more is this questions answer same as when asked "Describe how nitrogenous wastes from animals are converted into a form that flowering plants can absorb" or "Describe how urea is converted into a form that flowering plants can absorb".

The following should be helpful:

Anthony R. Brach, Ph.D.

Urea (CO(NH2)2) reacts with water to produce ammonium carbamate (H2NCO2(NH4), which is not stable and decomposes into ammonia (NH3) and carbon dioxide (CO2). The net reaction is:

H2O + CO(NH2)2 = 2 NH3 + CO2

Other equilibria of NH3 and CO2 reacting with water to give: (NH4)[+1] + (HCO3)[-1] also occur. Where the equilibrium lies depends upon the pH, and the presence of other ions, e.g. Ca[+2] which form insoluble Ca(CO3). The entire reaction equilibria scheme is messy, but the bottom line is that urea hydrolyzes in the presence of water.

Vince Calder

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