n 1: the chemical process in which a nitro group is added to an organic compound (or substituted for another group in an organic compound) 2: the oxidation of ammonium compounds in dead organic material into nitrates and nitrites by soil bacteria (making nitrogen available to plants)
Nitrification Ni`tri*fi*ca"tion, n. [Cf. F. nitrification. see Nitrify.] 1. (Chem.) (a) The act, process, or result of combining with nitrogen or some of its compounds. (b) The act or process of oxidizing nitrogen or its compounds so as to form nitrous or nitric acid. 2. A process of oxidation, in which nitrogenous vegetable and animal matter in the presence of air, moisture, and some basic substances, as lime or alkali carbonate, is converted into nitrates. Note: The process is going on at all times in porous soils and in water contaminated with nitrogenous matter, and is supposed to be due to the presence of an organized ferment or ferments, called nitrification ferments. In former times the process was extensively made use of in the production of saltpeter.