Plant and Soil

, Volume 76, Issue 1, pp 213–226

Denitrification in field soils

  • P. Colbourn
  • R. J. Dowdell
Section 4: Anaerobic Processes in Soils and Gaseous Losses of Nitrogen

DOI: 10.1007/BF02205581

Cite this article as:
Colbourn, P. & Dowdell, R.J. Plant Soil (1984) 76: 213. doi:10.1007/BF02205581


Recent denitrification research is reviewed to answer questions a) how much N is lost from the soil as N2 and N2O and b) how do agronomic practices affect this loss? The methods used to quantify denitrification are also discussed. Gaseous losses of inorganic N range between the equivalent of 0 to 20 per cent of the fertilizer N applied to arable soils and 0–7 per cent on grassland soils. Losses are greater on undrained land and also after using direct drilling to establish arable crops.

Appendix 1 summarizes reported measurements of gaseous N losses.

Key words

AcetyleneArable cropsCultivationDenitrificationDrainageGasChromatographyGrasslandInorganic N fertilizerIrrigationNitrogenNitrous oxide

Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff/Dr W. Junk Publishers 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Colbourn
    • 1
  • R. J. Dowdell
    • 1
  1. 1.Agricultural Research Council Letcombe LaboratoryWantageUK