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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Semicontinuous Measurement of Soil Atmosphere Gases with Gas-Flow Soil Core Method


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 59 No. 5, p. 1336-1342
    Received: Feb 16, 1994

    * Corresponding author(s): martien.swerts@agr.kuleuven.ac.be
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  1. M. Swerts ,
  2. G. Uytterhoeven,
  3. R. Merckx and
  4. K. Vlassak
  1. Laboratory of Soil Fertility and Soil Biology, Faculty of Agricultural and Applied Biological Sciences, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Kardinaal Mercierlaan 92, B 3001 Heverlee, Belgium



To study denitrification, a method was developed for simultaneous measurement of CO2, N2, N2O, and NO production in soil cores. The technique does not interfere with biochemical processes in the soil and is fully automated to enable highly time-resolved measurements for prolonged periods. Soil cores (intact or repacked) are connected to individual gas-tight circuits (up to nine). Gas is continuously circulated through the soil cores to avoid diffusional problems. Each individual circuit can be automatically sampled for chromatographic gas analysis. The N2O production rates can be measured accurately down to 0.04 µg N kg−1 measuring interval−1 (MI). Determination of N2, CO2, and O2 production rates is less sensitive: 0.09 mg N kg−1 MI−1, 0.04 mg C kg−1 MI−1, and 0.02 mg O kg−1 MI−1, respectively. Dynamically changing gas production rates are monitored accurately, and total N gas production under anaerobiosis is balanced by NO3 disappearance.

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