Mechanisms Controlling Methane Emission from Wetland Rice Fields

  • Ralf Conrad


Wetland rice fields are an important source in the global budget of atmospheric CH4 and, thus, have a significant impact on climate and on atmospheric photochemistry. Methane emission rates from rice fields vary greatly with field site, management, time of day, and season. Field and laboratory studies of CH4 turnover in paddy soil are reviewed with respect to the mechanisms that control the emission of CH4 into the atmosphere, i.e., CH4 production, CH4 diffusion, CH4 oxidation, and interaction of CH4 turnover with nutrients such as nitrogen, iron, and sulfur compounds. Methane production involves a complex anaerobic microbial community that degrades organic matter via various intermediates to CO2 and CH4. The rice aerenchyma allows the diffusion of O2 into the rhizosphere and, thus, provides oxic microsites within the anoxic submerged soil. This allows the oxidation of CH4 and makes the involvement of other aerobic bacteria in the turnover of CH4 possible. The rice aerenchyma also provides the predominant route for escape of CH4 from the soil into the atmosphere and may tap bubbles that constitute CH4 reservoirs in the submerged soil.


Rice Plant Rice Straw Rice Field Methane Production Methane Emission 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ralf Conrad
    • 1
  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institut für Terrestrische MikrobiologieMarburg/LahnGermany

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