Microbial Ecology

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 25–36 | Cite as

Measurement of nitrification rates in lake sediments: Comparison of the nitrification inhibitors nitrapyrin and allylthiourea

  • Grahame H. Hall


A method for measuring rates of nitrification in intact marine sediment cores has been modified and adapted for use in freshwater sediments. The technique involves subsampling a sediment core into minicores. Half of these cores are treated with an inhibitor of chemolithotrophic nitrification and, after incubation, differences in ammonia and nitrate concentration between inhibited and uninhibited systems are calculated. The within-treatment variability of ammonia and nitrate concentrations could be reduced by storing the cores overnight prior to subsampling. Estimates of the nitrification rate using the difference in ammonia concentrations between the inhibited and uninhibited mini-cores were always greater than the rate estimate using the difference in nitrate concentrations. Comparison between the results using the nitrification inhibitors allylthiourea (ATU) and nitrapyrin (N-Serve) indicated that the former appeared to give larger values for the nitrification rate than did the latter. Differences in the efficiency of these inhibitors in the control of nitrification under the conditions used partly explain these results. Data are also presented on the effect of N-Serve and ATU on some other nitrogen transformations affecting ammonia and nitrate concentrations.


Ammonia Nitrification Nature Conservation Sediment Core Nitrate Concentration 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Grahame H. Hall
    • 1
  1. 1.Freshwater Biological AssociationAmblesideUK

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