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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 28 No. 4, p. 478-481
    Received: Dec 23, 1963
    Accepted: Mar 23, 1964

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Investigations Concerning Nitrogen Loss Through Chemical Reactions Involving Urea and Nitrite1

  1. Wayne E. Sabbe and
  2. Lester W. Reed2



The urea-nitrite Van Slyke reaction was studied to determine the conditions necessary for this reaction to contribute to evolution of nitrogen gas (N2) by chemical denitrification in soils. The reaction was carried out in buffer solutions and the evolution of gases was analyzed quantitatively. The variables studied were pH, acidity, time, and reactant concentrations. Two conditions necessary for N2 evolution under an anaerobic atmosphere from an urea-nitrite solution are (1) pH 6.0 or lower, and (2) a concentration of each reactant of 0.05 mg. N per ml, or greater. Evolution of N2 increased with decreasing pH and increasing reactant concentration. Nitric oxide (NO) formation was increased by increasing acidity, increasing nitrite concentration, and decreasing urea concentration. Nitrite accumulation in soils following urea fertilization requires an alkaline media. Therefore, the possibility that this pathway (urea-nitrite reactions) of nitrogen loss occurs in soils is doubtful.

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