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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Carbon and Nitrogen Mineralization Kinetics for Poultry Litter1


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 15 No. 4, p. 423-426
    Received: Oct 16, 1985

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  1. P. M. Gale and
  2. J. T. Gilmour2



An incubation study was conducted to evaluate the relationship between net C and net N mineralized during the decomposition of surface-applied poultry (Gallus gallus) litter. The two litters studied were passed through a 2-mm sieve and comparisons were made among the fine and coarse fractions, and a 50:50 mixture of these fractions. Carbon mineralization for the fine fraction, as measured by CO2 evolution, followed first-order kinetics. Three distinct phases of decomposition were observed. Rapid phase rate constants followed the Arrheniuns equation for the 11 to 25°C temperature range, while slow and intermediate phase rate constants at 18 and 25°C were temperature independent. The fine fraction C mineralization rate constants for the rapid phase were 0.018, 0.038, and 0.049 d−1 at temperatures of 11, 18, and 25°C, respectively. For the intermediate and slow phases, rate constants at 25°C were 0.011 and 0.006 d−1, respectively. At 25°C, the rapid phase rate constant for the course fraction was 0.041 d−1 and that of the mixture was 0.046 d−1 . No effect due to size fraction was observed for the intermediate and slow phases. During the rapid phase, net N mineralization paralleled net C mineralization after an initial flush of N mineralization at 1 d. In a comparison among temperatures, the linear relationship between net N mineralized and net C mineralized had a slope of 0.62 for the fine fraction of both litters. The parallel intercepts for this relationship, 160 g N (kg N)−1, for pine (Pinus spp.) shavings and 116 g N (kg N)−1 for wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) straw litter, correlated well with the N mineralized in 1 d, as determined in a separate experiment. In a comparison among fractions, coarse, fine, and mixed fractions had slopes of 0.52, 0.64, and 0.25, respectively, at 25°C. The intercept for the coarse fraction was 65 g N (kg N)−1 with no differences due to litter type. However, differences due to litter type were observed for the fine and mixed fractions.

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