Over the last one hundred years biological nitrogen fixation processes have been discovered and characterized exclusively in prokaryotes (Archaea, Rhodobacter, Cyanobacteria, Azotobacter, Klebsiella, Pseudomonas, Azospirillum, Rhizobia, Paenibacillus etc.). So far only a few species of higher plants (e.g. legumes) have been found to be able to fix atmospheric nitrogen via nitrogen fixing bacteria (e.g. rhizobia). In the past four decades, knowledge obtained from the research work on versatile microbes in this area has been more and more important. In this review we attempt to highlight some key aspects of various prokaryotic microbes including evolution of biological nitrogen fixation, regulation, biochemistry, nitrogenase assembly and several mechanisms required for nitrogenase protection, and related matters.
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