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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Mitigation of nitrous oxide emissions in grazing systems through nitrification inhibitors: a meta-analysis

Soares, Johnny R.; Souza, Bruna R.; Mazzetto, Andre M.; Galdos, Marcelo V.; Chadwick, Dave R.; Campbell, Eleanor E.; Jaiswal, Deepak; Oliveira, Julianne C.; Monteiro, Leonardo A.; Vianna, Murilo S.; Lamparelli, Rubens A. C.; Figueiredo, Gleyce K. D. A.; Sheehan, John J.; Lynd, Lee R.


Grasslands are the largest contributor of nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions in the agriculture sector due to livestock excreta and nitrogen fertilizers applied to the soil. Nitrification inhibitors (NIs) added to N input have reduced N2O emissions, but can show a range of efficiencies depending on climate, soil, and management conditions. A meta-analysis study was conducted to investigate the factors that influence the efficiency of NIs added to fertilizer and excreta in reducing N2O emissions, focused on grazing systems. Data from peer-reviewed studies comprising 2164 N2O emission factors (EFs) of N inputs with and without NIs addition were compared. The N2O EFs varied according to N source (0.0001-8.25%). Overall, NIs reduced the N2O EF from N addition by 56.6% (51.1-61.5%), with no difference between NI types (Dicyandiamide-DCD; 3,4-Dimethylpyrazole phosphate-DMPP; and Nitrapyrin) or N source (urine, dung, slurry, and fertilizer). The NIs were more efficient in situations of high N2O emissions compared with low; the reduction was 66.0% when EF > 1.5% of N applied compared with 51.9% when EF <= 0.5%. DCD was more efficient when applied at rates > 10 kg ha(-1). NIs were less efficient in urine with lower N content (<= 7 g kg(-1)). NI efficiency was negatively correlated with soil bulk density, and positively correlated with soil moisture and temperature. Better understanding and management of NIs can optimize N2O mitigation in grazing systems, e.g., by mapping N2O risk and applying NI at variable rate, contributing to improved livestock sustainability.


Air pollution; Greenhouse gases; Grassland; Pasture; Manure; Enhanced-efficiency fertilizers

Published in

Nutrient cycling in agroecosystems
2023, Volume: 125, number: 3, pages: 359-377

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

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