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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract - DIVISION S-3—SOIL BIOLOGY & BIOCHEMISTRY

Nitrification and Denitrification near a Soil–Manure Interface Studied with a Nitrate-Nitrite Biosensor


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 66 No. 2, p. 498-506
    Received: Jan 15, 2001

    * Corresponding author(s): biorlm@biology.au.dk
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  1. Rikke Louise Meyer *,
  2. Thomas Kjær and
  3. Niels Peter Revsbech
  1. Department of Microbial Ecology, Aarhus University, Bd. 540, Ny Munkegade, DK-8000 Aarhus, Denmark


A two-layer system of cattle (Bos taurus) manure and soil was used to study the development of nitrification and denitrification processes associated with the oxic–anoxic interface of soil and manure over a period of 18 d. By use of microsensors, depth profiles of O2 and nitrate plus nitrite NO x were measured. We observed an initial depletion of NO x originally present in the soil, followed by an increase after ∼1 wk caused by the activity of nitrifying bacteria. Fluxes of NO x from the soil into the manure were calculated from NO x profiles and compared with measurements of N2 production. Generally, NO x fluxes and N2 production were concordant. Denitrification (NO x consumption) was closely coupled to nitrification until Day 18, when NO x accumulated in the anoxic zone and therefore no longer seemed to limit denitrification. Maximum denitrification rates were measured at Day 9/10 and reached 732 and 497 nmol N m−2 h−1 when measured as NO x flux and N2 production, respectively. An experiment was set up to investigate the temporal change in NO x profiles when nitrification was inhibited by acetylene. Profiles of NO x were measured at 0, 2, 4, 8, 16, 24, and 48 h of incubation with 1% acetylene. Calculated NO x fluxes were 39% of the original rates after 2 h and only 2% after 48 h. Thus, this experiment stresses the importance of very short incubation time when using the acetylene inhibition technique to measure denitrification rates.

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Copyright © 2002. Soil Science SocietyPublished in Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J.66:498–506.