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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Atmospheric Pollutants and Trace Gases

Gaseous Nitrogen Emissions and Mineral Nitrogen Transformations as Affected by Reclaimed Effluent Application


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 32 No. 4, p. 1204-1211
    Received: Oct 31, 2002

    * Corresponding author(s): master@tx.technion.ac.il
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  1. Y. Master *a,
  2. R. J. Laughlinb,
  3. U. Shavita,
  4. R. J. Stevensb and
  5. A. Shaviva
  1. a The Faculty of Agricultural Engineering, Technion-IIT, Haifa 32000, Israel
    b Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Agricultural and Environmental Science Division, Newforge Lane, Belfast BT9 5PX, Northern Ireland, UK


Irrigation with reclaimed effluent (RE) is essential in arid and semiarid regions. Reclaimed effluent has the potential to stimulate gaseous N losses and affect other soil N processes. No direct measurements of the N2 and N2O emissions from Mediterranean soils have been conducted so far. We used the 15N gas flux method in a field and a laboratory experiment to study the effect of RE irrigation on gaseous N losses and other N transformations in a Grumosol (Chromoxerert) soil. The fluxes of N2, N2O, and NH3 were measured from six Grumosol lysimeters following application of either fresh water or RE. The N fertilizer was applied either as 15NH4 or 15NO3 Only up to 0.3% from the applied N fertilizer was lost as N2O + NH3 Reclaimed effluent enhanced the losses of NH3, but did not affect those of N2O. Nitrification and denitrification were equally important to N2O production. Laboratory incubations were performed to both confirm the influence of the irrigation water type and to test the effect of moisture content. Significant quantities of N2 and N2O (up to 3.1% of the applied fertilizer) were emitted from saturated soils. Reclaimed effluent application did not induce higher N2O emissions, yet significantly more (approximately 33%) N2 was emitted from RE-irrigated soils. Denitrification contributed up to 75% of the N2O amounts emitted from saturated soils. Reclaimed effluent application inhibited nitrification in the Grumosol by 15 to 25% and induced NO2 accumulation in soils incubated at a field-capacity moisture content.

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Copyright © 2003. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyPublished in J. Environ. Qual.32:1204–1211.