Nitrogen molecules $(\ce{N2})$ have lone pairs, which, as far as I know, is the property of oxygen molecules $(\ce{O2})$ that allows them to act as ligands bonding to iron in haemoglobin in the blood. Why then is atmospheric nitrogen unable to act as a ligand and form dative bonds to iron in the blood as oxygen is able to?

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    $\begingroup$ N2 is even worse as ligand then oxygen, its complexes are rare. $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Mar 21 '18 at 21:20
  • $\begingroup$ It can, at least at high pressure, see e.g. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3417671 $\endgroup$ – Ian Bush Mar 22 '18 at 7:49
  • $\begingroup$ @Mithoron Okay, but why is N2 a worse ligand than O2? $\endgroup$ – R.M. Mar 22 '18 at 21:43

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