Evaluation of nitrogen-15 tracer techniques for direct measurement of denitrification in soil: IV. Field Studies

R. L. Mulvaney, R. M. Vanden Heuvel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Field studies were conducted to determine whether underestimation occurs in measuring evolution of nitrous oxide (N2O) using an 15N-tracer technique based on the assumption of isotopic uniformity. Microplots of 58, 553, or 1684 cm2 in area were treated with 15N-labeled KNO3 (68.5 atom % 15N) at the rate of 100 kg N ha-1. Isotope-ratio analyses of the NO3- in soil cores collected from one plot of each size showed considerable spatial variability in 15N enrichment, but measurements of N2O evolution from these plots by gas chromatography (GC) and mass spectrometry (MS) usually did not differ significantly. Replicate atmospheric samples were collected from three plots of each size following rainfall or irrigation for analysis of N2O by GC and MS. The measurements differed significantly for approximately 60% of the collections that were made; however, the magnitude of the difference was usually small compared to spatial variability in N2O evolution. Significant differences occurred more often with medium or large plots than with small plots, and the greater value was usually obtained by GC. Additional study results are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1332-1337
Number of pages6
JournalSoil Science Society of America Journal
Volume52
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science

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