THE EFFECT OF DIFFERENT MOISTURE REGIMES AND SOIL CHARACTERISTICS ON NITROUS OXIDE EMISSION AND CONSUMPTION BY DIFFERENT SOILS

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Abstract

The emission and consumption of N2O by 18 soils having a wide variety of soil characteristics were determined in the laboratory during a 20-day incubation at three different moisture regimes: field capacity, saturation, and waterlogged conditions. The highest N2O production and consumption occurred under saturated conditions, confirming that conditions developing marginal anaerobic conditions, favor N2O accumulation. Furthermore, it indicates that, in the 18 soils tested, the N2O emission was not primarily determined by the process rate, but by the relative N2O production, which is the percentage of reduced (denitrification: N2O*100/[N2O + N2]) or oxidized (nitrification: N2O*100/[N2O− + N2O]) substrate being transformed into N2O

Multiple regression analysis with step-wise selection of variables showed that soil pH was the soil characteristic with the highest predictive value of the emission and maximum concentration of N2O, probably through its direct effect on nitrification and denitrification. Other important characteristics were CaCO3 and sand content, having an effect on the diffusion characteristics of the soil, and the NO2− concentration before the experiment, whose effect remains to be explained. The lack of predictive value of organic matter, water soluble organic matter, NO3− and NH4+ concentration may indicate that those factors were not limiting N2O emission or consumption in most soils

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