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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 74 No. 2, p. 384-395
    Received: Mar 5, 2009

    * Corresponding author(s): francesco.alluvione@unito.it
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Nitrous Oxide and Carbon Dioxide Emissions Following Green Manure and Compost Fertilization in Corn

  1. Francesco Alluvione *,
  2. Chiara Bertora,
  3. Laura Zavattaro and
  4. Carlo Grignani
  1. Dep. of Agronomy, Forest and Land Management, Univ. of Turin, via L. da Vinci 44, 10095 Grugliasco, Italy


Alternative N fertilizers that stimulate low greenhouse gas emissions from soil are needed to reduce the impact of agriculture on global warming. Corn (Zea mays L.) grown in a calcareous silt loam soil in northwestern Italy was fertilized with a municipal solid waste compost and vetch (Vicia villosa Roth.) green manure. Their potential to reduce N2O and CO2 emissions was compared with that of urea (130 kg N ha−1). Gaseous fluxes were measured for 2 yr in the spring (after soil incorporation of fertilizers) and in summer. In spring, the slow mineralization of compost reduced N2O emissions (0.11% of supplied N) relative to urea (3.4% of applied N), without an increase in CO2 fluxes. Nitrous oxide (2.31% of fixed N) and CO2 emissions from rapid vetch decomposition did not differ from urea. When N2O and CO2 fluxes were combined, compost reduced by 49% the CO2 equivalent emitted following urea application. Vetch did not show such an effect. In summer, no fertilizer effect was found on N2O and CO2 emissions. Compost proved to be potentially suitable to reduce the CO2 equivalent emitted after soil incorporation while vetch did not. For a thorough evaluation, net greenhouse gas emissions assessment should be extended to the entire N life cycle. Differences between calculated N2O emission factors and the default Tier 1 value of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (1%) confirmed the need for site- and fertilizer-specific estimations.

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