, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 623–634 | Cite as

Microbial N Turnover and N-Oxide (N2O/NO/NO2) Fluxes in Semi-arid Grassland of Inner Mongolia

  • Jirko Holst
  • Chunyan Liu
  • Nicolas BrüggemannEmail author
  • Klaus Butterbach-Bahl
  • Xunhua Zheng
  • Yuesi Wang
  • Shenghui Han
  • Zhisheng Yao
  • Jin Yue
  • Xingguo Han


Gross rates of N mineralization and nitrification, and soil–atmosphere fluxes of N2O, NO and NO2 were measured at differently grazed and ungrazed steppe grassland sites in the Xilin river catchment, Inner Mongolia, P. R. China, during the 2004 and 2005 growing season. The experimental sites were a plot ungrazed since 1979 (UG79), a plot ungrazed since 1999 (UG99), a plot moderately grazed in winter (WG), and an overgrazed plot (OG), all in close vicinity to each other. Gross rates of N mineralization and nitrification determined at in situ soil moisture and soil temperature conditions were in a range of 0.5–4.1 mg N kg−1 soil dry weight day−1. In 2005, gross N turnover rates were significantly higher at the UG79 plot than at the UG99 plot, which in turn had significantly higher gross N turnover rates than the WG and OG plots. The WG and the OG plot were not significantly different in gross ammonification and in gross nitrification rates. Site differences in SOC content, bulk density and texture could explain only less than 15% of the observed site differences in gross N turnover rates. N2O and NO x flux rates were very low during both growing seasons. No significant differences in N trace gas fluxes were found between plots. Mean values of N2O fluxes varied between 0.39 and 1.60 μg N2O-N m−2 h−1, equivalent to 0.03–0.14 kg N2O-N ha−1 y−1, and were considerably lower than previously reported for the same region. NO x flux rates ranged between 0.16 and 0.48 μg NO x -N m−2 h−1, equivalent to 0.01–0.04 kg NO x -N ha−1 y−1, respectively. N2O fluxes were significantly correlated with soil temperature and soil moisture. The correlations, however, explained only less than 20% of the flux variance.


mineralization nitric oxide nitrification nitrogen dioxide nitrous oxide overgrazing steppe 



The work has been supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG, Research Unit No. 536, “Matter fluxes in grasslands of Inner Mongolia as influenced by stocking rate”, MAGIM) and by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC, project no. 40331014). We thank Ralf Kiese, Georg Willibald and Ursula Berger for their technical assistance in the field and laboratory work. Our thanks also go to Zhihong Yu and Shubin Yu for their valuable assistance in manual gas sampling and GC analysis.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jirko Holst
    • 1
  • Chunyan Liu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nicolas Brüggemann
    • 1
    Email author
  • Klaus Butterbach-Bahl
    • 1
  • Xunhua Zheng
    • 2
  • Yuesi Wang
    • 2
  • Shenghui Han
    • 2
  • Zhisheng Yao
    • 2
  • Jin Yue
    • 2
  • Xingguo Han
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute for Meteorology and Climate ResearchAtmospheric Environmental Research (IMK-IFU)Garmisch-PartenkirchenGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Atmospheric PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Institute of BotanyChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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