Catalysts for Nitrogen Fixation - Nitrogenases, Relevant Chemical Models and Commercial Processes

Edited by Smith, Barry E.; Richards, Raymond L.; Newton, William E. 
Springer  2004  

Hardcover  340 pp  ISBN 9781402025082      £180.00
Volume 1 in the new series Nitrogen Fixation: Origins, Applications, and Research Progress

Biological nitrogen fixation provides more than 50% of the total annual input of the essential element nitrogen to world agriculture. Thus, it is of immense agronomic importance and critical to food supplies, particularly in developing countries.

This book, with chapters authored by internationally renowned experts, provides a comprehensive and detailed account of the fascinating history of the process - including the surprising discoveries of molybdenum-independent nitrogenases and superoxide-dependent nitrogenase; a review of Man's attempts to emulate the biological process - most successfully with the commercially dominant Haber-Bosch process; and the current state of the understanding art with respect to the enzymes - called nitrogenases - responsible for biological nitrogen fixation.

The initial chapters use a historical approach to the biological and industrial processes, followed by an overview of assay methodologies. The next set of chapters focuses on the classical enzyme, the molybdenum nitrogenase, and details its biosynthesis, structure, composition, and mechanism of action as well as detailing both how variants of its two component proteins are constructed by recombinant DNA technology and how computational techniques are being applied. The sophisticated chemical modelling of the metal-containing clusters in the enzyme is reviewed next, followed by a description of the two molybdenum-independent nitrogenases - first, the vanadium-containing enzyme and then the iron-only nitrogenase - together with some thoughts as to why they exist! Then follows an up-to-date treatment of the clearly "non-classical" properties of the superoxide-dependent nitrogenase, which more closely resembles molybdenum-containing hydroxylases and related enzymes, like nitrate reductase, that it does the other nitrogenases. Each chapter contains an extensive list of references.

This book is the self-contained first volume of a comprehensive seven-volume series. No other available work provides the up-to-date and in-depth coverage of this series and this volume. This book is intended to serve as an indispensable reference work for all scientists working in this area, including agriculture and the closely related metals-in-biology area; to assist students to enter this challenging area of research; and to provide science administrators easy access to vital relevant information.


  • Preface to the Series. Preface. List of Contributors.
  • 1: Nitrogen Fixation: An Historical Perspective; K. Fisher and W.E. Newton
  • 2: Haber-Bosch and Other Industrial Processes; G.J. Leigh
  • 3: Assay Methods for Products of Nitrogenase Action on Substrates; M.J. Dilworth
  • 4: The Structures of the Nitrogenase Proteins and Stabilized Complexes; P.M.C. Benton and J.W. Peters
  • 5: The Mechanism of Mo-dependent Nitrogenase: Thermodynamics and Kinetics; R.Y. Igarashi and L.C. Seefeldt 6
  • : Strategies for the Functional Analysis of the Azotobacter vinelandii MoFe Protein and its Active Site FeMo- cofactor; S.M. Mayer, P.C. Dos Santos, L.C. Seefeldt and D.R.
  • 7: Chemical Models, Theoretical Calculations, and Reactivity of Isolated Iron-Molybdenum Cofactor; F. Barrière, M.C. Durrant and C.J. Pickett
  • 8: Structural Models for the FeMo-cofactor and the P Clusters; D.J. Evans
  • 9. Biosynthesis of Iron-Molybdenum and Iron-Vanadium Cofactors of the nif- and vnf-encoded Nitrogenases; P.W. Ludden, P. Rangaraj and L.M. Rubio
  • 10: Vanadium Nitrogenase; B.J. Hales
  • 11. Iron-only Nitrogenase: Exceptional Catalytic, Structural and Spectroscopic Features; K. Schneider and A. Müller
  • 12: Superoxide-dependent Nitrogenase; D. Gadkari
  • 13: Future Challenges and Prospects; R.L. Richards and B.E. Smith
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Springer : agriculture & forestry : catalysts : chemistry : genetics : microbiology : nitrogen cycle : nitrogen fixation : symbiosis

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