Nitrogen: biological information
Nitrogen is a key component of biological molecules such as proteins (which are made from amino acids, and nucleic acids. The nitrogen cycle in nature is very important.
Levels in humans
- Human abundance by weight: 26000000 ppb by weight
- Human abundance by atoms: 12000000 atoms relative to C = 1000000
How much nitrogen is in your body? Find out here.
You can use this form to calculate how much nitrogen your body contains. Enter your weight in either kilograms or pounds and click the "Calculate" button. You must enter a number, not text! Elements for which there are no data will always give a value of zero for the weight, no matter what you put in the weight box.
Hazards and Risks
Hazards and risks associated with nitrogen:
Nitrogen gas is not toxic and makes up nearly 80% of the air that we breathe. However, in principle, pure nitrogen could asphyxiate through denying the body access to oxygen. Nitrogen compounds such as ammonia (NH3) are toxic in high concentration. Other nitrogen-containing compounds such as cyanides (CN-) are lethal in very small amounts. Nitrogen is contained in fertilisers but leaching of nitrogenous fertilisers into rivers is a major cause of water pollution. Nitrogen oxides (from combustion) are one cause of acid rain and are also toxic.
- J.E. Huheey, E.A. Keiter, and R.L. Keiter in Inorganic Chemistry : Principles of Structure and Reactivity, 4th edition, HarperCollins, New York, USA, 1993.
- S. Budavari (Ed.) in The Merck Index, 11th ed., Merck, USA, 1989.
- N.N. Greenwood and A. Earnshaw in Chemistry of the Elements, 2nd edition, Butterworth, UK, 1997.