Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems

, Volume 74, Issue 1, pp 1–11

Methane Oxidation in Pig and Cattle Slurry Storages, and Effects of Surface Crust Moisture and Methane Availability



Storages with liquid manure (slurry) may develop a surface crust of particulate organic matter, or an artificial crust can be established. Slurry storages are net sources of atmospheric methane (CH4), but a potential for bacterial oxidation of CH4 in surface crusts was recently suggested in a study of experimental storages. The present study was conducted to investigate methanotrophic activity under practical storage conditions. Surface crusts from slurry storages at two pig farms and four dairy farms were sampled in late autumn. Mixed samples (0–4 cm depth) were used to determine changes in CH4, O2 and CO2 during incubation, while intact subsamples were used to characterize CH4 oxidation as a function of CH4 availability and moisture content. Methane oxidation was observed in all materials except for an expanded clay product (Leca) sampled from a pig slurry storage. Despite significant variation between replicate subsamples, there was a significant increase in methanotrophic activity when CH4 concentrations increased from 500 to 50,000 ppmv. Maximum fluxes ranged from −1 to −4.5 g CH4 m−2 d−1. Surface crust samples were partly dried and then re-wetted in four steps to the original moisture content, each time followed by determination of CH4 fluxes. Only one surface crust material showed a relationship between CH4 fluxes and moisture content that would implicate gas diffusivity in the regulation of CH4 oxidation. The occurrence of inducible CH4 oxidation activity in slurry storage surface crusts indicates that there is a potential for stimulating the process by manipulation of gas phase composition above the stored slurry.


Respiratory quotient Methane oxidation Slurry storage Storage cover 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AgroecologyDanish Institute of Agricultural SciencesTjeleDenmark
  2. 2.Plant Research DepartmentRisø National LaboratoryRoskildeDenmark

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