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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

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


This article in SSSAJ

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

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  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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