Nitrogen sources and denitrification potential of Cyprus aquifers, through isotopic investigation on nitrates

  • Ch. Christophi
  • C.A. Constantinou
Part of the Environmental Earth Sciences book series (EESCI)


Nitrates is one of the most common groundwater pollutants. Being able to identify the source(s) as well as evaluating the denitrification capacity of aquifers can help shape appropriate remedial action. This paper aims to investigate the isotopic composition of nitrates in groundwater samples in order to identify primary and secondary nitrate sources as well as to evaluate denitrification potential of aquifers in Cyprus. A total of 135 groundwater samples from 12 different Ground Water Bodies (GWB) were analyzed for 15N/14N and 18O/16O. It was concluded that the dominant primary source of nitrate in rural Cyprus is fertilizers. For many samples a secondary nitrate source with an isotopic signature of organic source is contributing. This organic source is, in most cases, assumed to be manure. In 16% of the groundwater samples, manure was identified as the primary nitrate source. Finally, the potential of denitrification is seen in 21% of the samples from 7 different GWBs.


Isotopic Composition Nitrate Concentration Groundwater Sample Mineral Fertilizer Organic Source 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ch. Christophi
    • 1
  • C.A. Constantinou
    • 1
  1. 1.Geological Survey DepartmentNicosiaCyprus

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