Contribution of nitrification and denitrification to N2O emissions from urine patches

Publication: Research - peer-reviewJournal article – Annual report year: 2007

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Urine deposition by grazing livestock causes an immediate increase in nitrous oxide (N(2)O) emissions, but the responsible mechanisms are not well understood. A nitrogen-15 ((15)N) labelling study was conducted in an organic grass-clover sward to examine the initial effect of urine on the rates and N(2)O loss ratio of nitrification (i.e. moles of N(2)O-N produced per moles of nitrate produced) and denitrification (i.e. moles of NO produced per moles of N(2)O + N(2) Produced). The effect of artificial urine (52.9 g N m(-2)) and ammonium solution (52.9g N m(-2)) was examined in separate experiments at 45% and 35% water-filled pore space (WFPS), respectively, and in each experiment a water control was included. The N(2)O loss derived from nitrification or denitrification was determined in the field immediately after application of (15)N-labelled solutions. During the next 24 h, gross nitrification rates were measured in the field, whereas the denitrification rates were measured in soil cores in the laboratory. Compared with the water control, urine application increased the N(2)O emission from 3.9 to 42.3 mu g N(2)O-N m(-2) h(-1), whereas application of ammonium increased the emission from 0.9 to 6.1 mu g N(2)ON m(-2) h(-1). In the urine-affected soil, nitrification and denitrification contributed equally to the N(2)O emission, and the increased N(2)O loss resulted from a combination of higher rates and higher N(2)O loss ratios of the processes. In the present study, an enhanced nitrification rate seemed to be the most important factor explaining the high initial N(2)O emission from urine patches deposited on wellaerated soils. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSoil Biology & Biochemistry
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)2091-2102
StatePublished - 2007
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: 35
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