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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract - DIVISION S-10-WETLAND SOILS

The Influence of Organic Carbon on Nitrogen Transformations in Five Wetland Soils


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 64 No. 3, p. 1129-1136
    Received: Jan 4, 1999

    * Corresponding author(s): torbjorn.davidsson@limnol.lu.se
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  1. Torbj o ¨ rn Emil Davidsson * and
  2. Mattias Ståhl
  1. Dep. of Limnology, Ecology Building, Lund Univ., S-223 62 Lund, Sweden


Today we see an increased use of wetlands for N removal in agricultural catchments. Since the most important process for nitrate (NO 3) removal, denitrification, requires organic C, different soils could be expected to be differently suited for wetland construction. In this study, we evaluate the importance of soil organic C and the effects of added dissolved organic C on N transformations in existing and proposed wetlands. We used 15N-labeled NO 3 to study N transformations in soil columns from five locations (a forest peaty soil, a field peaty soil, a silt loam, a loam, and a sandy loam). All five soils removed NO 3 at substantial rates (13–73% of the load). The field peaty soil had highest denitrification rate (11 mmol m−2 d−1), while sandy loam soil had the lowest rate (2 mmol m−2 d−1). Dissolved organic C did not seem to limit N removal in the soils, as glucose additions affected N turnover only slightly. The forest peat soil differed from the others by exhibiting low nitrification, and relatively high production of nitrite (NO 2), probably a result of low pH. Nitrate removal in the field peat soil and the sandy loam soil was counteracted by production of ammonium (NH+ 4) and dissolved organic N, causing net N release. Although there was a positive relationship between soil organic matter and NO 3 consumption, we conclude that all soils were suited for N removal. The lack of response to glucose additions indicate that there was no short-term lack of electron donor in any of the soils, including the sandy loam soil.

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