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Research article2004Peer reviewedOpen access

Nitrous oxide production in a forest soil at low temperatures - processes and environmental controls

Oquist MG, Nilsson M, Sorensson F, Kasimir-Klemedtsson A, Persson T, Weslien P, Klemedtsson L


Recent investigations have highlighted the relative importance of the winter season for emissions of N2O from boreal soils. However, our understanding of the processes and environmental controls regulating these emissions is fragmentary. Therefore, we investigated the potential for, and relative importance of, N2O formation at temperatures below 0 degreesC in laboratory experiments involving incubations of a Swedish boreal forest soil. Our results show that frozen soils have a high potential for N2O formation and subsequent emission. Net N2O production rates at -4 degreesC equaled those observed at +10 to +15 degreesC at moisture contents >60% of the soil's water-holding capacity. The source of this N2O was found to be denitrification occurring in anoxic microsites in the frozen soil and temperature per se did not control the denitrification rates at temperatures around 0 degreesC. Furthermore, both net nitrogen-mineralisation and nitrification were observed in the frozen soil samples. Based on these findings we propose a conceptual model for the temperature response of N2O formation in soils at low temperatures. (C) 2004 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved

Published in

FEMS Microbiology Ecology
2004, Volume: 49, number: 3, pages: 371-378

      SLU Authors

    • Persson, Tryggve

      • Department of Ecology and Environmental Research, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
      • Nilsson, Mats

        • Department of Forest Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
        • Öquist, Mats

          • Department of Forest Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

        UKÄ Subject classification

        Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
        Forest Science

        Publication identifier


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