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Title: Hotspots of soil N2O emission enhanced through water absorption by plant residue

Abstract

N2O is a highly potent greenhouse gas and arable soils represent its major anthropogenic source. Field-scale assessments and predictions of soil N2O emission remain uncertain and imprecise due to the episodic and microscale nature of microbial N2O production, most of which occurs within very small discrete soil volumes. Such hotspots of N2O production are often associated with decomposing plant residue. Here we quantify physical and hydrological soil characteristics that lead to strikingly accelerated N2O emissions in plant residue-induced hotspots. Results reveal a mechanism for microscale N2O emissions: water absorption by plant residue that creates unique micro-environmental conditions, markedly different from those of the bulk soil. Moisture levels within plant residue exceeded those of bulk soil by 4–10-fold and led to accelerated N2O production via microbial denitrification. The presence of large (Ø >35 μm) pores was a prerequisite for maximized hotspot N2O production and for subsequent diffusion to the atmosphere. Understanding and modelling hotspot microscale physical and hydrologic characteristics is a promising route to predict N2O emissions and thus to develop effective mitigation strategies and estimate global fluxes in a changing environment.

Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ORCiD logo
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States). Advanced Photon Source (APS)
Sponsoring Org.:
NIHDOE - BIOLOGICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH
OSTI Identifier:
1375352
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Nature Geoscience
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 10; Journal Issue: 7; Journal ID: ISSN 1752-0894
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
ENGLISH
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES

Citation Formats

Kravchenko, A. N., Toosi, E. R., Guber, A. K., Ostrom, N. E., Yu, J., Azeem, K., Rivers, M. L., and Robertson, G. P. Hotspots of soil N2O emission enhanced through water absorption by plant residue. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1038/ngeo2963.
Kravchenko, A. N., Toosi, E. R., Guber, A. K., Ostrom, N. E., Yu, J., Azeem, K., Rivers, M. L., & Robertson, G. P. Hotspots of soil N2O emission enhanced through water absorption by plant residue. United States. doi:10.1038/ngeo2963.
Kravchenko, A. N., Toosi, E. R., Guber, A. K., Ostrom, N. E., Yu, J., Azeem, K., Rivers, M. L., and Robertson, G. P. Mon . "Hotspots of soil N2O emission enhanced through water absorption by plant residue". United States. doi:10.1038/ngeo2963.
@article{osti_1375352,
title = {Hotspots of soil N2O emission enhanced through water absorption by plant residue},
author = {Kravchenko, A. N. and Toosi, E. R. and Guber, A. K. and Ostrom, N. E. and Yu, J. and Azeem, K. and Rivers, M. L. and Robertson, G. P.},
abstractNote = {N2O is a highly potent greenhouse gas and arable soils represent its major anthropogenic source. Field-scale assessments and predictions of soil N2O emission remain uncertain and imprecise due to the episodic and microscale nature of microbial N2O production, most of which occurs within very small discrete soil volumes. Such hotspots of N2O production are often associated with decomposing plant residue. Here we quantify physical and hydrological soil characteristics that lead to strikingly accelerated N2O emissions in plant residue-induced hotspots. Results reveal a mechanism for microscale N2O emissions: water absorption by plant residue that creates unique micro-environmental conditions, markedly different from those of the bulk soil. Moisture levels within plant residue exceeded those of bulk soil by 4–10-fold and led to accelerated N2O production via microbial denitrification. The presence of large (Ø >35 μm) pores was a prerequisite for maximized hotspot N2O production and for subsequent diffusion to the atmosphere. Understanding and modelling hotspot microscale physical and hydrologic characteristics is a promising route to predict N2O emissions and thus to develop effective mitigation strategies and estimate global fluxes in a changing environment.},
doi = {10.1038/ngeo2963},
journal = {Nature Geoscience},
issn = {1752-0894},
number = 7,
volume = 10,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {6}
}

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Transient N2O accumulation and emission caused by O2 depletion in soil after liquid manure injection
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Properties of Soil Pore Space Regulate Pathways of Plant Residue Decomposition and Community Structure of Associated Bacteria
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Three-Dimensional Quantification of Intra-Aggregate Pore-Space Features using Synchrotron-Radiation-Based Microtomography
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Soil Microsites as a Source of Denitrification Variability1
journal, January 1987


Spatial variability of N 2 O emissions and soil parameters of an arable silt loam - a field study
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Soil resource heterogeneity in terms of litter aggregation promotes nitrous oxide fluxes and slows decomposition
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Direct Measurement of Oxygen Profiles and Denitrification Rates in Soil Aggregates1
journal, January 1985


Comparison of image segmentation methods in simulated 2D and 3D microtomographic images of soil aggregates
journal, May 2011


Biogeochemical Hot Spots and Hot Moments at the Interface of Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecosystems
journal, June 2003


Global metaanalysis of the nonlinear response of soil nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions to fertilizer nitrogen
journal, June 2014

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Image thresholding by indicator kriging
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Tillage effects on N2O emissions as influenced by a winter cover crop
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Patchiness in Microbial Nitrogen Transformations in Groundwater in a Riparian Forest
journal, January 1998


Soil structure and greenhouse gas emissions: a synthesis of 20 years of experimentation
journal, January 2013


Vadose zone oxygen (O2) dynamics during drying and wetting cycles: An artificial recharge laboratory experiment
journal, August 2015


Intra-aggregate Pore Structure Influences Phylogenetic Composition of Bacterial Community in Macroaggregates
journal, January 2014

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The Effect of Growing Plants on Denitrification at High Soil Nitrate Concentrations1
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Isotopologue data reveal bacterial denitrification as the primary source of N2O during a high flux event following cultivation of a native temperate grassland
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Do cover crops enhance N2O, CO2 or CH4 emissions from soil in Mediterranean arable systems?
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Hot moments of N2O transformation and emission in tropical soils from the Pantanal and the Amazon (Brazil)
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New Approach to Measure Soil ParticulateOrganic Matter in Intact Samples Using X-ray Computed Microtomography
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Mining the isotopic complexity of nitrous oxide: a review of challenges and opportunities
journal, February 2017


Challenges to incorporating spatially and temporally explicit phenomena (hotspots and hot moments) in denitrification models
journal, January 2009

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    Works referencing / citing this record:

    Hot moments of N2O transformation and emission in tropical soils from the Pantanal and the Amazon (Brazil)
    journal, August 2014


    Topography Influences Management System Effects on Total Soil Carbon and Nitrogen
    journal, January 2009

    • Senthilkumar, S.; Kravchenko, A. N.; Robertson, G. P.
    • Soil Science Society of America Journal, Vol. 73, Issue 6
    • DOI: 10.2136/sssaj2008.0392

    Changes in Relative Gas Diffusivity Explain Soil Nitrous Oxide Flux Dynamics
    journal, January 2013

    • Balaine, Nimlesh; Clough, Tim J.; Beare, Mike H.
    • Soil Science Society of America Journal, Vol. 77, Issue 5
    • DOI: 10.2136/sssaj2013.04.0141

    Nitrous oxide sources in aerobic soils: Nitrification, denitrification and other biological processes
    journal, January 1987


    Spatial variability of N 2 O emissions and soil parameters of an arable silt loam - a field study
    journal, February 1999

    • Clemens, J.; Schillinger, M. P.; Goldbach, H.
    • Biology and Fertility of Soils, Vol. 28, Issue 4
    • DOI: 10.1007/s003740050512

    Soil Microsites as a Source of Denitrification Variability1
    journal, January 1987


    The Effect of Growing Plants on Denitrification at High Soil Nitrate Concentrations1
    journal, January 1987


    Global metaanalysis of the nonlinear response of soil nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions to fertilizer nitrogen
    journal, June 2014

    • Shcherbak, I.; Millar, N.; Robertson, G. P.
    • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 111, Issue 25
    • DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1322434111

    Agricultural Management and Soil Carbon Storage in Surface vs. Deep Layers
    journal, January 2011

    • Syswerda, S. P.; Corbin, A. T.; Mokma, D. L.
    • Soil Science Society of America Journal, Vol. 75, Issue 1
    • DOI: 10.2136/sssaj2009.0414

    Hierarchical, Bimodal Model for Gas Diffusivity in Aggregated, Unsaturated Soils
    journal, January 2010

    • Resurreccion, Augustus C.; Moldrup, Per; Kawamoto, Ken
    • Soil Science Society of America Journal, Vol. 74, Issue 2
    • DOI: 10.2136/sssaj2009.0055

    Do cover crops enhance N2O, CO2 or CH4 emissions from soil in Mediterranean arable systems?
    journal, January 2014


    Gas diffusion through soil crumbs: the effects of compaction and wetting
    journal, March 1984


    Challenges to incorporating spatially and temporally explicit phenomena (hotspots and hot moments) in denitrification models
    journal, January 2009

    • Groffman, Peter M.; Butterbach-Bahl, Klaus; Fulweiler, Robinson W.
    • Biogeochemistry, Vol. 93, Issue 1-2
    • DOI: 10.1007/s10533-008-9277-5

    Mining the isotopic complexity of nitrous oxide: a review of challenges and opportunities
    journal, February 2017


    Ammonia‐oxidizing bacteria are the primary N 2 O producers in an ammonia‐oxidizing archaea dominated alkaline agricultural soil
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    New Approach to Measure Soil ParticulateOrganic Matter in Intact Samples Using X-ray Computed Microtomography
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    • Kravchenko, A. N.; Negassa, W.; Guber, A. K.
    • Soil Science Society of America Journal, Vol. 78, Issue 4
    • DOI: 10.2136/sssaj2014.01.0039

    Microbial hotspots and hot moments in soil: Concept & review
    journal, April 2015


    Soil structure and greenhouse gas emissions: a synthesis of 20 years of experimentation
    journal, January 2013


    Nitrogen isotopomer site preference of N2O produced byNitrosomonas europaea andMethylococcus capsulatus Bath
    journal, May 2004

    • Sutka, R. L.; Ostrom, N. E.; Ostrom, P. H.
    • Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, Vol. 18, Issue 12
    • DOI: 10.1002/rcm.1482

    Three-Dimensional Quantification of Intra-Aggregate Pore-Space Features using Synchrotron-Radiation-Based Microtomography
    journal, January 2008

    • Peth, S.; Horn, R.; Beckmann, F.
    • Soil Science Society of America Journal, Vol. 72, Issue 4
    • DOI: 10.2136/sssaj2007.0130

    Effect of the soil water dynamics on nitrous oxide emissions
    journal, October 2016


    Direct Measurement of Oxygen Profiles and Denitrification Rates in Soil Aggregates1
    journal, January 1985


    Intra-aggregate Pore Structure Influences Phylogenetic Composition of Bacterial Community in Macroaggregates
    journal, January 2014

    • Kravchenko, Alexandra N.; Negassa, Wakene C.; Guber, Andrey K.
    • Soil Science Society of America Journal, Vol. 78, Issue 6
    • DOI: 10.2136/sssaj2014.07.0308

    Vadose zone oxygen (O2) dynamics during drying and wetting cycles: An artificial recharge laboratory experiment
    journal, August 2015


    Tillage effects on N2O emissions as influenced by a winter cover crop
    journal, July 2011


    Long-term nitrous oxide fluxes in annual and perennial agricultural and unmanaged ecosystems in the upper Midwest USA
    journal, August 2016

    • Gelfand, Ilya; Shcherbak, Iurii; Millar, Neville
    • Global Change Biology, Vol. 22, Issue 11
    • DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13426

    Patchiness in Microbial Nitrogen Transformations in Groundwater in a Riparian Forest
    journal, January 1998


    Heterogeneity of O2 dynamics in soil amended with animal manure and implications for greenhouse gas emissions
    journal, May 2015


    Long-term effects of cropping system on N2O emission potential
    journal, February 2013


    Image thresholding by indicator kriging
    journal, July 1999

    • Wonho Oh, ; Lindquist, B.
    • IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, Vol. 21, Issue 7
    • DOI: 10.1109/34.777370

    Nitrous Oxide (N2O) Emissions from Subsurface Soils of Agricultural Ecosystems
    journal, April 2019


    Soil N 2 O emissions following cover-crop residues application under two soil moisture conditions
    journal, May 2015

    • Pimentel, Laisa Gouveia; Weiler, Douglas Adams; Pedroso, Gabriel Munhoz
    • Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, Vol. 178, Issue 4
    • DOI: 10.1002/jpln.201400392

    Automated Near-Continuous Measurement of Carbon Dioxide and Nitrous Oxide Fluxes from Soil
    journal, January 1998


    A Review of the Movement and Fate of N2O in the Subsoil
    journal, May 2005

    • Clough, T. J.; Sherlock, R. R.; Rolston, D. E.
    • Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems, Vol. 72, Issue 1
    • DOI: 10.1007/s10705-004-7349-z

    Isotopologue data reveal bacterial denitrification as the primary source of N2O during a high flux event following cultivation of a native temperate grassland
    journal, March 2010


    Comparison of image segmentation methods in simulated 2D and 3D microtomographic images of soil aggregates
    journal, May 2011


    Effects of contrasting catch crops on nitrogen availability and nitrous oxide emissions in an organic cropping system
    journal, January 2015

    • Li, Xiaoxi; Petersen, Søren O.; Sørensen, Peter
    • Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, Vol. 199
    • DOI: 10.1016/j.agee.2014.10.016

    Nitrous oxide emissions from soils: how well do we understand the processes and their controls?
    journal, July 2013

    • Butterbach-Bahl, Klaus; Baggs, Elizabeth M.; Dannenmann, Michael
    • Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol. 368, Issue 1621
    • DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2013.0122

    Biogeochemical Hot Spots and Hot Moments at the Interface of Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecosystems
    journal, June 2003


    Utilization of organic materials in soil aggregates by bacteria and fungi
    journal, January 1978


    Gaseous diffusion in porous media. Part 2. - Dry granular materials
    journal, August 1960


    Statistical Challenges in Analyses of Chamber-Based Soil CO and NO Emissions Data
    journal, January 2015

    • Kravchenko, A. N.; Robertson, G. P.
    • Soil Science Society of America Journal, Vol. 79, Issue 1
    • DOI: 10.2136/sssaj2014.08.0325

    Intra-aggregate Pore Characteristics: X-ray Computed Microtomography Analysis
    journal, January 2012

    • Wang, W.; Kravchenko, A. N.; Smucker, A. J. M.
    • Soil Science Society of America Journal, Vol. 76, Issue 4
    • DOI: 10.2136/sssaj2011.0281

    Evidence for denitrification as main source of N 2 O emission from residue-amended soil
    journal, January 2016


    Sampling frequency affects estimates of annual nitrous oxide fluxes
    journal, November 2015

    • Barton, L.; Wolf, B.; Rowlings, D.
    • Scientific Reports, Vol. 5, Issue 1
    • DOI: 10.1038/srep15912

    Transient N2O accumulation and emission caused by O2 depletion in soil after liquid manure injection
    journal, February 2011


    Determination of Nitrogen Isotopomers of Nitrous Oxide on a Modified Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer
    journal, October 1999

    • Toyoda, Sakae; Yoshida, Naohiro
    • Analytical Chemistry, Vol. 71, Issue 20
    • DOI: 10.1021/ac9904563

    Diffusive boundary layers and the oxygen uptake of sediments and detritus1: Diffusive boundary layers
    journal, January 1985


    Nitrous oxide emissions from agricultural land use in Germany— a synthesis of available annual field data
    journal, June 2006

    • Jungkunst, Hermann F.; Freibauer, Annette; Neufeldt, Henry
    • Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, Vol. 169, Issue 3
    • DOI: 10.1002/jpln.200521954

    Properties of Soil Pore Space Regulate Pathways of Plant Residue Decomposition and Community Structure of Associated Bacteria
    journal, April 2015


    Soil resource heterogeneity in terms of litter aggregation promotes nitrous oxide fluxes and slows decomposition
    journal, February 2009


    Soil nitrous oxide emissions following crop residue addition: a meta-analysis
    journal, July 2013

    • Chen, Huaihai; Li, Xuechao; Hu, Feng
    • Global Change Biology, Vol. 19, Issue 10
    • DOI: 10.1111/gcb.12274