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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 57 No. 3, p. 738-742
    Received: Aug 27, 1991

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Emission Spectrometry for Direct Measurement of Nitrous Oxide and Dinitrogen from Soil

  1. A. B. Eriksen  and
  2. L. Holtan-Hartwig
  1. The Phytotron, Univ. of Oslo, P.O. Box 1066, Blindern, 0316 Oslo, Norway



Measurement of N2O and N2 produced by denitrification is of current interest, from an environmental point of view and for the quantification of N losses. Our method for direct measurement of N2 evolution from soil by 15N emission spectrometry (ES) has been modified to measure both N2O and N2. Two different methods for reduction of N2O to N2 before measurement by ES were tested: (i) by catalyst (Al2O3 + 0.5% Pd) and high temperature (700 °C) in the gas sampling system (method I) and (ii) by high-frequency discharge in the ES discharge tubes (Method II). By catalyst, 93% of 15N-N2O was reduced to 15N-N2, while 98% was reduced by high-frequency discharge in the ES discharge tubes. The application of the two methods was tested by measuring the N2O and N2 losses in closed cuvette systems after 15N-enriched KNO3 was added to moist (85% of field capacity) and flooded soil. The nitrification inhibitor dicyandiamide was mixed into the moist soil to prevent loss of N2O as a result of nitrification. The same results were obtained when the N2O loss from moist soil was determined by using Method I, Method II, or gas chromatography (GC). The ratio of N2O/N2 was 2.9 for moist soil and 0.2 for flooded soil 2 wk after application of 15N-KNO3. This method can measure both N2O and N2 produced in soil from 15N-enriched fertilizer.

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