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Research article2022Peer reviewed

Soil moisture determines nitrous oxide emission and uptake

Liu, Hongshan; Zheng, Xiangzhou; Li, Yuefen; Yu, Juhua; Ding, Hong; Sveen, Tord Ranheim; Zhang, Yushu


Soils are major sources and sinks of nitrous oxide (N2O). The main pathway of N2O emission is performed through soil denitrification; however, the uptake phenomenon in denitrification is overlooked, leading to an underestimation of N2O production. Soil moisture strongly influences denitrification rates, but exact quantifications coupled with nosZ, nirK, and nirS gene analysis remain inadequately unaccounted for. In this study, a N-15-N2O pool dilution ((N2OPD)-N-15) method was used to measure N2O production rates under different soil moisture levels. Therefore, 20%, 40%, 60%, 80% and 100% soil water holding capacity (WHC) were used. The results revealed that N2O uptake rates increased proportionally with soil moisture content and peaked at 80% WHC with 4.17 +/- 2.74 mu g N kg(-1) soil h(-1). The N2O production and net emission rates similarly peaked at 80% WHC, reading at 32.50 +/- 4.86 and 27.63 +/- 3.09 mu g N kg(-1) soil h(-1) during the incubation period (18 days). Soil moisture content increased the gene copy number of the nosZ, NH4+ content, and denitrification potential in soil. N2O uptake at WHC 80-100% was significantly greater than that at WHC 20-60%. It was attributed to a decrease in O-2 and the high NO3- concentration inhibition (> 50 mg N kg(-1) of soil NO3--N content). Principal components analysis (PCA) indicated that the number of nosZ genes was the major driver of N2O uptake, especially nosZ clade II. Thus, the results of this study deepen our understanding of the mechanisms underpinning N2O sources and sinks in soils and provide a useful gene-based indicator to estimate N2O uptake.


N2O uptake; Soil moisture; nosZ clade I; nosZ clade II denitri fication; NO3- concentration

Published in

Science of the Total Environment
2022, Volume: 822, article number: 153566
Publisher: ELSEVIER

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Sciences

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