• High-Resolution Denitrification Kinetics in Pasture Soils Link N2O Emissions to pH, and Denitrification to C Mineralization

      Samad, Sainur; Bakken, Lars R.; Nadeem, Shahid; Clough, Timothy J.; de Klein, Cecile A.M.; Richards, Karl G.; Lanigan, Gary; Morales, Sergio E.; New Zealand Fund for Global Partnerships in Livestock Emissions Research; 16084 (PLOS, 18/03/2016)
      Denitrification in pasture soils is mediated by microbial and physicochemical processes leading to nitrogen loss through the emission of N2O and N2. It is known that N2O reduction to N2 is impaired by low soil pH yet controversy remains as inconsistent use of soil pH measurement methods by researchers, and differences in analytical methods between studies, undermine direct comparison of results. In addition, the link between denitrification and N2O emissions in response to carbon (C) mineralization and pH in different pasture soils is still not well described. We hypothesized that potential denitrification rate and aerobic respiration rate would be positively associated with soils. This relationship was predicted to be more robust when a high resolution analysis is performed as opposed to a single time point comparison. We tested this by characterizing 13 different temperate pasture soils from northern and southern hemispheres sites (Ireland and New Zealand) using a fully automated-high-resolution GC detection system that allowed us to detect a wide range of gas emissions simultaneously. We also compared the impact of using different extractants for determining pH on our conclusions. In all pH measurements, soil pH was strongly and negatively associated with both N2O production index (IN2O) and N2O/(N2O+N2) product ratio. Furthermore, emission kinetics across all soils revealed that the denitrification rates under anoxic conditions (NO+N2O+N2 μmol N/h/vial) were significantly associated with C mineralization (CO2 μmol/h/vial) measured both under oxic (r2 = 0.62, p = 0.0015) and anoxic (r2 = 0.89, p<0.0001) conditions.
    • Influence of soil moisture on codenitrification fluxes from a urea-affected pasture soil

      Clough, Timothy J.; Lanigan, Gary; de Klein, Cecile; Samad, Sainur; Morales, Sergio; Rex, David; Bakken, Lars R.; Johns, Charlotte; Condron, Leo; Grant, Jim; et al. (Nature, 2017-05-19)
      Intensively managed agricultural pastures contribute to N2O and N2 fluxes resulting in detrimental environmental outcomes and poor N use efficiency, respectively. Besides nitrification, nitrifier-denitrification and heterotrophic denitrification, alternative pathways such as codenitrification also contribute to emissions under ruminant urine-affected soil. However, information on codenitrification is sparse. The objectives of this experiment were to assess the effects of soil moisture and soil inorganic-N dynamics on the relative contributions of codenitrification and denitrification (heterotrophic denitrification) to the N2O and N2 fluxes under a simulated ruminant urine event. Repacked soil cores were treated with 15N enriched urea and maintained at near saturation (−1 kPa) or field capacity (−10 kPa). Soil inorganic-N, pH, dissolved organic carbon, N2O and N2 fluxes were measured over 63 days. Fluxes of N2, attributable to codenitrification, were at a maximum when soil nitrite (NO2−) concentrations were elevated. Cumulative codenitrification was higher (P = 0.043) at −1 kPa. However, the ratio of codenitrification to denitrification did not differ significantly with soil moisture, 25.5 ± 15.8 and 12.9 ± 4.8% (stdev) at −1 and −10 kPa, respectively. Elevated soil NO2− concentrations are shown to contribute to codenitrification, particularly at −1 kPa.
    • Phylogenetic and functional potential links pH and N2O emissions in pasture soils

      Samad, Sainur; Biswas, Ambarish; Bakken, Lars R.; Clough, Timothy J.; de Klein, Cecile A.M.; Richards, Karl G.; Lanigan, Gary; Morales, Sergio E.; New Zealand Fund for Global Partnerships in Livestock Emissions Research (Nature Publishing Group, 26/10/2016)
      Denitrification is mediated by microbial, and physicochemical, processes leading to nitrogen loss via N2O and N2 emissions. Soil pH regulates the reduction of N2O to N2, however, it can also affect microbial community composition and functional potential. Here we simultaneously test the link between pH, community composition, and the N2O emission ratio (N2O/(NO + N2O + N2)) in 13 temperate pasture soils. Physicochemical analysis, gas kinetics, 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing, metagenomic and quantitative PCR (of denitrifier genes: nirS, nirK, nosZI and nosZII) analysis were carried out to characterize each soil. We found strong evidence linking pH to both N2O emission ratio and community changes. Soil pH was negatively associated with N2O emission ratio, while being positively associated with both community diversity and total denitrification gene (nir & nos) abundance. Abundance of nosZII was positively linked to pH, and negatively linked to N2O emissions. Our results confirm that pH imposes a general selective pressure on the entire community and that this results in changes in emission potential. Our data also support the general model that with increased microbial diversity efficiency increases, demonstrated in this study with lowered N2O emission ratio through more efficient conversion of N2O to N2.