Nitrogen (Latin nitrum, Greek Nitron meaning "native soda", "genes", "forming") is formally considered to have been discovered by Daniel Rutherford in 1772, who called it noxious air or fixed air. That there was a fraction of air that did not support combustion was well known to the late 18th century chemist. Nitrogen was also studied at about the same time by Carl Wilhelm Scheele, Henry Cavendish, and Joseph Priestley, who referred to it as burnt air or phlogisticated air. Nitrogen gas was inert enough that Antoine Lavoisier referred to it as azote, which stands for without life; this term has become the French word for "nitrogen" and later spread out to many other languages. Nitrogen is the chemical element in the periodic table that has the symbol N and atomic number 7. Commonly a colorless, odorless, tasteless and mostly inert diatomic non-metal gas, nitrogen constitutes 78 percent of Earth's atmosphere and is a constituent of all living tissues. Nitrogen forms many important compounds such as amino acids, ammonia, nitric acid, and cyanides. Nitrogen is an essential part of amino and nucleic acids which makes nitrogen vital to all life. Legumes like the soybean plant, can recover nitrogen directly from the atmosphere because their roots have nodules harboring microbes that do the actual conversion to ammonia in a process known as nitrogen fixation. The legume subsequently converts ammonia to nitrogen oxides and amino acids to form proteins.