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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 4 No. 2, p. 179-182
     
    Received: Apr 25, 1974


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doi:10.2134/jeq1975.00472425000400020008x

Nitrate Reduction and Nitrite Utilization by Nitrifiers in an Unsaturated Hanford Sandy Loam1

  1. M. G. Volz,
  2. L. W. Belser,
  3. M. S. Ardakani and
  4. A. D. McLaren2

Abstract

Abstract

In order to discern any relationship between added nitrate and microbial growth in a field plot, a Hanford sandy loam was infiltrated for 5 weeks at a rate of 5 cm day−1 with a solution containing 100 ppm -N and 1.25 meq/liter Cl as KNO3 and CaCl2 respectively. Nitrate-N, NO2-N and Cl concentrations in soil solution were determined and corresponding counts of nitrate reducers, denitrifiers, and NH4+- and NO2-oxidizer populations were made.

Ratios of measured to applied concentrations for both NO3-N and Cl were nearly identical in all solution samples taken from the unsaturated soil profile, i.e., nitrate reduction was not pronounced and NO2-N was less than 1 ppm.

Nitrate reducer populations (6x104–6x105/g soil) were always larger than those of denitrifiers (3x103–3x104/g) and varied little with time and depth. Ammonium oxidizers (101–105/g) generally decreased with depth. In contrast, NO2 oxidizers (101–3x106/g) varied markedly with time at all depths. An increase in numbers of NO2 oxidizers, after 2 to 3 weeks, at a depth of 60 cm, is attributed to NO2 produced by reduction of NO3 at anoxic microsites within the profile. Evidently, a cyclic oxidation and reduction of nitrite and nitrate, occurring simultaneously, is responsible for growth of nitrite oxidizers in the profile.

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