Determining N2O and N2 fluxes in relation to winter wheat and sugar beet growth and development using the improved 15N gas flux method on the field scale

Jonas Eckei, Reinhard Well, Martin Maier, Amanda Matson, Klaus Dittert, Pauline Sophie Rummel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The objectives of this field trial were to collect reliable measurement data on N2 emissions and N2O/(N2O + N2) ratios in typical German crops in relation to crop development and to provide a dataset to test and improve biogeochemical models. N2O and N2 emissions in winter wheat (WW, Triticum aestivum L.) and sugar beet (SB, Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris) were measured using the improved 15N gas flux method with helium–oxygen flushing (80:20) to reduce the atmospheric N2 background to < 2%. To estimate total N2O and N2 production in soil, production-diffusion modelling was applied. Soil samples were taken in regular intervals and analyzed for mineral N (NO3 and NH4+) and water-extractable Corg content. In addition, we monitored soil moisture, crop development, plant N uptake, N transformation processes in soil, and N translocation to deeper soil layers. Our best estimates for cumulative N2O + N2 losses were 860.4 ± 220.9 mg N m−2 and 553.1 ± 96.3 mg N m−2 over the experimental period of 189 and 161 days with total N2O/(N2O + N2) ratios of 0.12 and 0.15 for WW and SB, respectively. Growing plants affected all controlling factors of denitrification, and dynamics clearly differed between crop species. Overall, N2O and N2 emissions were highest when plant N and water uptake were low, i.e., during early growth stages, ripening, and after harvest. We present the first dataset of a plot-scale field study employing the improved 15N gas flux method over a growing season showing that drivers for N2O and N2O + N2 fluxes differ between crop species and change throughout the growing season.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBiology and Fertility of Soils
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Apr 2024

Keywords

  • Crop development
  • Denitrification
  • N balance
  • Nitrogen Cycling
  • Plant N uptake

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