Oxygen concentrations regulate NO, N2O, and N2 kinetics and nitrogen transformation in a fluvo-aquic soil using a robotized incubation system

Abstract

Purpose

The current study aimed to (1) investigate the responses of N gases (NO, N2O, and N2) and mineral N (NH4+, NO2, and NO3) to the different O2 availability; (2) better understand the importance of O2 availability on N2O production pathways; and (3) provide evidence for making N2O mitigation measures in this agricultural soil.

Materials and methods

An incubation experiment with a fluvo-aquic soil was conducted using a robotized incubation system, with two added nitrogen sources (NH4+, NO2) under two initial O2 concentrations (21% and 0% v/v). Gas samples (3.5 ml) were collected every 8 h during the incubation, and soil samples were destructed collected at the beginning and the end of the incubation.

Results and discussion

Under initial condition of 21% O2, NH4+ combined with NO2 increased N2O emission especially at high NH4+ concentration (150 mg N kg−1). It is possibly because strong nitrification with high NH4+ addition caused a low O2 availability (< 6.2% v/v) which might have stimulated nitrifier denitrification or denitrification with N2O emission, and under initial condition of 0% O2, denitrification and anammox were the dominant processes, and N loss via gas depended on NO2 and NO3 concentration in the soil. Anammox might occur when NH4+ and NO2 were present, and this process should not be overlooked under anaerobic condition at the studied soil.

Conclusions

O2 controlled the soil microbiome processes in the fluvo-aquic soil under current conditions. Under aerobic condition, nitrification and nitrification-related process (nitrifier denitrification or denitrification) were the main N2O sources, and the nitrogenous gas kinetics depended on the rates of exogenous N and N types; while under anaerobic condition, denitrification contributed the most N2O and N2 production, which closely related with NO2 and NO3 concentration in the soil.

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Acknowledgments

We appreciate Prof. Xiaojun Zhang’s experimental platform on robot incubation system.

Funding

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41830751, 41807036, 42007031, and 31861133018) and Hainan University Startup Fund (KYQD(ZR)-20098)).

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Yang, L., Zhu, G., Ju, X. et al. Oxygen concentrations regulate NO, N2O, and N2 kinetics and nitrogen transformation in a fluvo-aquic soil using a robotized incubation system. J Soils Sediments 21, 1337–1347 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11368-021-02878-2

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Keywords

  • Oxygen transition
  • N gases
  • Nitrification and denitrification
  • N transformation