A new method was developed for the simultaneous determination of the intrinsic carbon and nitrogen mineralization capacity of organic matter (OM) sources by means of an aerobic incubation in suspension. The proposed method is based on determination of the oxygen consumption, monitored indirectly via pressure measurement, and on determination of nitrogen mineralization, through the periodical measurement of NH4+-N, in a liquid suspension of the samples. The suspension is standardized in terms of nutrient composition and pH, and well-controlled incubation conditions that can be enforced as desired. This method rules out the effect of soil conditions and thus reflects the intrinsic properties of the OM. The method is faster and more reproducible than soil incubation tests that are currently used. In such a system, it is important that nitrification is inhibited to avoid oxygen consumption by nitrifiers and prevent the production of gaseous nitrogen compounds. Two nitrification inhibitors, N-allylthiourea and 2-ethynylpyridine, were tested at different concentrations for three reference samples, soil, bark and manure. Both inhibitors completely suppress NO3¿ formation without suppressing the heterotrophic microbial activity, thus allowing the correct determination of the oxygen uptake rate (OUR). When nitrification inhibitors were added, nitrous oxide could not be detected anymore in the gas phase of the system, which confirms that nitrification was inhibited and indicates that denitrification and nitrifier denitrification activity was negligible. N mineralization rates were determined by frequent sampling from the liquid phase of the system without disturbing the pressure measurement during the incubation and subsequent determination of NH4+-N. The method presented allows for the reliable and relatively easy and cheap, simultaneous determination of carbon and nitrogen mineralization rates for a wide range of OM sources.
|Journal||Soil Biology and Biochemistry|
|Publication status||Published - 2007|
- compost stability
- crop residues