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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 43 No. 6, p. 1140-1144
    Received: Dec 4, 1978
    Accepted: July 11, 1979

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The Influence of Nitrate, Nitrite, and Oxygen on the Composition of the Gaseous Products of Denitrification in Soil1

  1. M. K. Firestone,
  2. M. S. Smith,
  3. R. B. Firestone and
  4. J. M. Tiedje2



[18N]-N2O produced by denitrification of 18NO-3 in soil slurries readily exchanged with nonlabeled pools of added N2O. This supports the role of N2O as a free, obligate intermediate of denitrification in soils. The observation that N2O diffuses freely from the site of active denitrification in soils means that any factor which produces a change in the relative rate of N2O reduction compared to the rate of N2O production can alter the proportion of N2O and N2 resulting. Increased concentration of NO3- and NO2- resulted in increased production of N2O relative to N2 as the product of denitrification. The influence of NO2- was much stronger than that of NO3-, with low concentrations of NO2- causing N2O to become a significant product of denitrification. This suggests that NO2-, not NO3-, may be the influential species. Additions of small quantities of O2 (0.02 atm) caused a large decrease in denitrification activity and resulted in a significant increase in the N2O/N2 ratio.

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