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In biogeochemistry, remineralisation (UK spelling; US remineralization) refers to the transformation of organic molecules to inorganic forms, typically mediated by biological activity.[1]

Usually remineralisation relates to organic and inorganic molecules involving biologically important elements such as carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus. For example, the following simplified equation shows the complete remineralisation of organic material with a standard Redfield ratio to oxidised inorganic minerals such as carbon dioxide, nitrate (nitric acid) and phosphate (phosphoric acid).[1]

(C106H124O36) (NH3)16 (H3PO4) + 150 O2 \rightarrow 106 CO2 + 16 HNO3 + H3PO4 + 78 H2O + energy

In reality, such complete remineralisation is likely to involve several stages each involving different organisms and metabolic pathways. For example, in the case of nitrogen, its transformation from ammonia (NH3) in the equation above, to nitrate involves the process of nitrification, usually mediated by a series of bacteria.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Sarmiento, J.L.; Gruber, N. (2006). Ocean Biogeochemical Dynamics. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, USA. 
  2. ^ Dugdale, R.C.; Goering, J.J. (1967). "Uptake of new and regenerated forms of nitrogen in primary productivity" (PDF). Limnol. Oceanogr. 12: 196–206. doi:10.4319/lo.1967.12.2.0196. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Nixon, S. W. (1981). Remineralization and nutrient cycling in coastal marine ecosystems. In: Neilson, B. J., Cronin, L. E. (eds.) Estuaries and nutrients. Humana Press, Clifton, New York, pp. 11