Influences of indigenous phototrophs on methane emissions from a straw-amended paddy soil
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A pot experiment was conducted to investigate the influences of indigenous phototrophs on methane (CH4) emissions from a paddy soil where rice straw was incorporated or was surface-applied. During the cultivation, half of the pots were covered with aluminum foil, except for the minimum space for rice plants, to prevent ambient light reaching the floodwater or the soil surface. Growth of oxygen-producing phototrophs was hardly observed in the unilluminated plots, whereas intensive growth of algae, duckweed and hydrophytes was found in the illuminated ones. Plant growth was not affected by the different treatments. Seasonal changes in CH4 emission determined by a closed chamber method indicated that illumination had no or only minor effects on CH4 emissions when rice straw was incorporated or was not applied, but significantly reduced CH4 emissions when rice straw was surface-applied. Methanogenesis occurring in the soil-floodwater interface was further investigated in two lab-scale model experiments measuring methanogenic activity. As a result, more activated methanogenesis was found in the surface-applied rice straw and the soil around the straw compared with the soil incubated without rice straw. The magnitude of the methanogenic activity in the rice straw incubated under illuminated conditions was significantly lower than that incubated in the dark. Consequently, this study demonstrates that methanogenesis in paddy soil occurs even in the soil-floodwater interface if plant residues like rice straw exist, and such methanogenesis is likely to be suppressed by growth of indigenous phototrophs under illumination.