The effect of nitrification inhibitors in reducing nitrification and the ammonia oxidizer population in three contrasting soils
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3,4-Dimethylpyrazole phosphate (DMPP) and acetylene (C2H2) are widely used nitrification inhibitors. These nitrification inhibitors have shown inconsistent efficacy in different soils, demonstrating the importance of determining which soil and microbial factors cause this variability. The aim of the present study was to investigate the efficacy of DMPP and C2H2 to inhibit nitrification and the ammonia oxidizer population in three contrasting soil types from Australia.
Materials and methods
Three contrasting soils of different pHWater (4.6, 7.0, and 8.0) collected from different agriculture systems in Australia were used in a laboratory incubation experiment for 28 days to compare the efficacy of DMPP and C2H2 to inhibit nitrification. We measured mineral nitrogen (N) concentrations during the incubation. In addition, quantitative PCR was applied to quantify the ammonia oxidizer population and to investigate the population change in response to DMPP and C2H2 addition.
Results and discussion
Acetylene completely blocked nitrification in the three soils while DMPP was more effective in inhibiting nitrification in the neutral soil (93.5 %) than in the alkaline soil (85.1 %) and acid soil (70.5 %). Ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) were more abundant than ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) in all three control soils, with the highest AOA abundance found in the acid soil. The addition of DMPP and C2H2 significantly decreased AOA abundance in all soils (P < 0.05) and significantly suppressed AOB abundance in the neutral soil and slightly blocked AOB growth in the alkaline soil, though it had no effect on AOB abundance in the acid soil.
Our results show C2H2 completely inhibited nitrification and performed better than DMPP in our study. DMPP was more effective in the neutral soil than other two soils. Neither DMPP nor C2H2 was a selective nitrification inhibitor in neutral and alkaline soils in which both AOA and AOB were inhibited. Neither DMPP nor C2H2 had any effect on AOB abundance in the acid soil. Soil pH plays an important role in the effectiveness of DMPP and C2H2 in inhibiting nitrification and ammonia oxidizer population.
Keywords3,4-Dimethylpyrazole phosphate (DMPP) Acetylene AmoA Archaea Bacteria Soil pH
The authors would like to acknowledge the financial support by Incitec Pivot Limited and the Australian Government Department of Agriculture through the Grains Research and Development Corporation. Dr. John Freney, Dr. Shu Kee (Raymond) Lam, and Dr. Hangwei Hu provided their assistance during manscript preparation.
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