Influence of 15N enrichment on the net isotopic fractionation factor during the reduction of nitrate to nitrous oxide in soil

O. Mathieu, J. Levegue, C. Henault, Per Ambus, M.J. Millouxl, F. Andreaux

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    Nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas, is mainly emitted from soils during the denitrification process. Nitrogen stable-isotope investigations can help to characterise the N(2)O source and N(2)O production mechanisms. The stable-isotope approach is increasingly used with (15)N natural abundance or relatively low (15)N enrichment levels and requires a good knowledge of the isotopic fractionation effect inherent to this biological mechanism. This paper reports the measurement of the net and instantaneous isotopic fractionation factor (alpha(i)(s/p)) during the denitrification of NO(3)(-) to N(2)O over a range of (15)N substrate enrichments (0.37 to 1.00 atom% (15)N). At natural abundance level, the isotopic fractionation effect reported falls well within the range of data previously observed. For (15)N-enriched substrate, the value of alpha(i)(s/p) was not constant and decreased from 1.024 to 1.013, as a direct function of the isotopic enrichment of the labelled nitrate added. However, for enrichment greater than 0.6 atom% (15)N, the value of alpha(i)(s/p) seems to be independent of substrate isotopic enrichment. These results suggest that for isotopic experiments applied to N(2)O emissions, the use of low (15)N-enriched tracers around 1.00 atom% (15)N is valid. At this enrichment level, the isotopic effect appears negligible in comparison with the enrichment of the substrate. Copyright (C) 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalRapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry
    Issue number8
    Pages (from-to)1447-1451
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

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