Nitrogen is an extremely common generally colourless, odourless, tasteless and mostly diatomic non-metal gas. Its outer shell consists of five electrons thus it is trivalent in most compounds.
The biggest industrial usage of nitrogen is as a component in the manufacture of ammonia, which is then subsequently used as fertilizer as well as in the production of nitric acid. Liquid nitrogen (also known as LN2) is a refrigerant and is used for freezing and transporting food products, preserving bodies, reproductive cells (sperm and eggs), and to preserve and store biological samples. Nitrated organic compounds, such as nitro-glycerine and trinitrotoluene, are commercially used as explosives.
 Nitrogen within the Environment
78 percent of Earth's atmosphere is made up of nitrogen. It is also a constituent of all living tissues. Most importantly it is an integral element for life, as it is a constituent of DNA and a key link in the genetic code.
Nitrogen molecules are one of the main constituents of air. Within water and the soil nitrogen can be found only in the form of nitrates and nitrites. All the above substances are linked together and form the nitrogen cycle.
Modern day agriculture has drastically changed natural nitrate and nitrite proportions, mainly by using nitrate-containing manures. Side by side high amounts of nitrogen are emitted by industry increasing the nitrate and nitrite supplies in soil and. Nitrate concentrations in drinking water will greatly increase due to this.
 Effects of Nitrogen on the Human Body
Nitrates and nitrites are known to affect the body in several ways. Nitrites react with haemoglobin in the blood, decreasing the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood.
Nitrates incapacitate the functioning of the thyroid gland as well as decrease levels of Vitamin A in the body. Fashioning of nitro amines within the body is one of the commonest causes of cancer.
A compound of nitrogen, nitric oxide is an essential component in the body’s metabolism process. Nitric oxide takes the role of a vital body messenger for relaxing muscles. It is also a vital component in the cardiovascular system, the immune system, the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. The enzyme that produces nitric oxide, called nitric oxide synthesis, is abundant in the brain
 Environmental effects of nitrogen
Humans have drastically altered the natural supplies of nitrates and nitrites. The main cause behind this alteration is mainly due to the extensive use of fertilizers. Combustion of fossil fuels also aggravates the levels of nitrates and nitrites in the environment, as combustion produces nitrogen oxide which can ultimately get converted to either nitrates or nitrites. Nitrates and nitrites also form during chemical production and they are used as food conservers. This causes groundwater and surface water nitrogen concentration, and nitrogen in food to increase greatly. The entry of nitrogen bonds in the environment has various effects. It can cause an imbalance in the composition of species as certain organisms are very susceptible to the consequences of nitrogen compounds. Food that is high in nitrogen compounds can decrease the levels of oxygen in the blood.
- Environment Words- A Dictionary in Plain English, published By Images Asia
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