What is meant by 'nitrogen fixation' ? State two ways in which nitrogen gas of the atmosphere can be 'fixed' in nature to get nitrogen compounds in the soil.
The process of converting atmospheric nitrogen into compounds of nitrogen is called nitrogen fixation. The two ways in which in which nitrogen gas of the atmosphere can be 'fixed' in nature to get nitrogen compounds in the soil are:
(i) Nitrogen fixation by lightning: Lightning also helps in fixing atmospheric nitrogen into the soil. The temperature and pressure during lightning convert atmospheric nitrogen into oxides of nitrogen. These nitrogen compounds combine with rainwater to form nitric and nitrous acid which mix with the soil.
(ii) Nitrogen fixation by certain bacteria and blue-green algae: Certain bacteria and blue-green algae present in the soil fix nitrogen from the atmosphere and convert it into compounds of nitrogen.