Biology and Fertility of Soils

, Volume 38, Issue 5, pp 267–272 | Cite as

Carbon limitations to nitrous oxide emissions in a humid tropical forest of the Brazilian Amazon

  • D. C. Garcia-Montiel
  • J. M. Melillo
  • P. A. Steudler
  • C. C. Cerri
  • M. C. Piccolo
Review Article


The availability of labile organic C for microbial metabolic processes could be an important factor regulating N2O emissions from tropical soils. We explored the effects of labile C on the emissions of N2O from a forest soil in the State of Rondônia in the southwestern quadrant of the Brazilian Amazon. We measured emissions of N2O from a forest soil after amendments with solutions containing glucose, water only or NO3. Addition of glucose to the forest soil resulted in very large increases in N2O emissions whereas the water only and NO3 additions did not. These results suggest a strong C limitation on N2O production in this forest soil in the southwestern Amazon.


Nitrous oxide emission Labile organic carbon Tropical soils Forest soils Microbial denitrification 


  1. Alexander M (1961) Introduction to soil microbiology. Wiley, ChichesterGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson IC, Poth M, Homstead J, Burdige D (1993) A comparison of NO and N2O production by the autotrophic nitrifier Nitrosomonas europaea and the heterotrophic nitrifier Alcaligenes faecalis. Appl Environ Microbiol 59:3525–3533PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Azam F, Muller C, Weiske A, Benekiser G, Ottow JCG (2002) Nitrification and denitrification as sources of atmospheric nitrous oxide—role of oxidizable C and applied nitrogen. Biol Fertil Soils 35:54–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bastos TX, de AS Diniz TD (1982) Avaliação de clima do Estado de Rondônia para desenvolvimento agrícola. Bol Pesquisa 44Google Scholar
  5. Davidson EA, Keller M, Erickson HE, Verchot LV, Veldkamp E (2000) Testing a conceptual model of soil emissions of nitrous and nitric oxides. BioScience 50:667–680Google Scholar
  6. Dendooven L, Anderson JM (1994) Dynamics of reduction enzymes involved in the denitrification process in pasture soil. Soil Biol Biochem 26:1501–1506Google Scholar
  7. Garcia-Montiel DC, Melillo JM, Steudler PA, Neill C, Feigl B, Cerri CC (2002) Nitrous oxide emissions from the Amazon Basin as estimated by soil respiration. Geophys Res LettGoogle Scholar
  8. Garcia-Montiel DC, Melillo JM, Steudler PA, Tian H, Neill C, Kicklighter DW, Feigl B, Cerri (in press) Emissions of N2O and CO2 from terra firme forests in Rondônia, Brazil. Ecol ApplGoogle Scholar
  9. Graça PML de (1997) Conteúdo de Co na biomassa florestal da Amazônia e alterações após á queima. MS thesis. Centro de Energia Nuclear na Agricultura, University of São PauloGoogle Scholar
  10. Li C, Frolking S, Frolking TA (1992) A model of nitrous oxide evolution from soil driven by rainfall events. 1. Model structure and sensitivity. J Geophys Res 97:9759–9776Google Scholar
  11. McGarity JW (1961) Denitrification studies on some South Australian soils. Plant Soil 14:1–21Google Scholar
  12. Melillo JM, McGuire A, Kicklighter D, Moore III B, Vorosmarty C, Schloss A (1993) Global climate change and terrestrial net primary production. Nature 363:234–240Google Scholar
  13. Melillo J, Steudler PA, Feigl BJ, Neill C, Garcia-Montiel DC, Piccolo MC, Cerri CC, Tian H (2001) Nitrous oxide emissions from forest and pastures of various ages in the Brazilian Amazon. J Geophys Res 24:34179–34188Google Scholar
  14. Moraes JFL, Volkoff B, Cerri CC, Bernoux M (1995) Soil properties under Amazon forest and changes due to pasture installation in Rondônia, Brazil. Geoderma 70:63–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Nobre AD, Keller M, Crill PM, Harriss RC (2001) Short-term nitrous oxide profile dynamics and emissions response to water, nitrogen and C additions in two tropical soils. Biol Fertil Soils 34:363–373CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Parsons WFJ, Mitre ME, Keller M, Reiners WA (1993) Nitrate limitation of N2O production and denitrification from tropical pasture and rain forest soils. Biogeochemistry 22:179–193Google Scholar
  17. Payne WJ (1981) Denitrification. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  18. Prather et al (2001) Other forcing of climate change and an evaluation of the IPCC I992 emission scenarios. In: Houghton JT, et al. (eds). Cambridge University Press, New York, pp 74–126Google Scholar
  19. RadamBrasil (1978) Projeto. Folha SC.20-Porto Velho; Geologia, geomorfolgia, pedologia, vegetaçao e uso potencial da terra, vol 16. Departamento Nacional de Produção Mineral (DNPM), Rio de JaneiroGoogle Scholar
  20. Robertson LA, Kuenen JG (1990) Combined heterotrophic nitrification and aerobic denitrification in Thiosphaera pantotropha and other bacteria. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek J Microbiol Serol 57:139–152Google Scholar
  21. Steudler PA, Melillo JM, Bowden RD, Castro MS, Lugo AE (1991) The effects of natural and human disturbances on soil nitrogen dynamics and trace gas fluxes in a Puerto Rican wet forest. Biotropica 23:356–363Google Scholar
  22. Steudler PA, Garcia-Montiel DC, Piccolo MC, Neill C, Melillo JM, Feigl BJ, Cerri CC (2002) Trace gas responses of tropical forest and pasture soils to N and P fertilization. Global Biochem Cycles 16Google Scholar
  23. Stouthamer AH (1988) Dissimilatory reduction of oxidized nitrogen compounds. In: Alexander JBZ (ed) Biology of anaerobic organisms. Wiley, New York, pp 245–302Google Scholar
  24. Stouthamer AH, Van't Riet JA, Oltmann LF (1980) Respiration of nitrate as acceptor. In: Knowles CJ (ed) Diversity in bacterial respiratory systems, vol 2. CRC, Boca Raton, Fla., pp 19–48Google Scholar
  25. Tiedje JM (1988) Ecology of denitrification and dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium. In: Alexander JBZ (ed) Biology of anaerobic organisms. Wiley, New York, pp 179–244Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. C. Garcia-Montiel
    • 1
  • J. M. Melillo
    • 2
  • P. A. Steudler
    • 2
  • C. C. Cerri
    • 3
  • M. C. Piccolo
    • 3
  1. 1.The Woods Hole Research CenterWoods HoleUSA
  2. 2.The Ecosystems CenterMarine Biological Laboratory Woods HoleWoods HoleUSA
  3. 3.Centro de Energia Nuclear na AgriculturaUniversity of São PauloPiracicabaBrazil

Personalised recommendations