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Title: Hotspots of soil N 2O emission enhanced through water absorption by plant residue

N 2O is a highly potent greenhouse gas and arable soils represent its major anthropogenic source. Field-scale assessments and predictions of soil N 2O emission remain uncertain and imprecise due to the episodic and microscale nature of microbial N 2O production, most of which occurs within very small discrete soil volumes. Such hotspots of N 2O production are often associated with decomposing plant residue. Here we quantify physical and hydrological soil characteristics that lead to strikingly accelerated N 2O emissions in plant residue-induced hotspots. Results reveal a mechanism for microscale N 2O 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 N 2O production via microbial denitrification. The presence of large (Ø >35 μm) pores was a prerequisite for maximized hotspot N 2O production and for subsequent diffusion to the atmosphere. Understanding and modelling hotspot microscale physical and hydrologic characteristics is a promising route to predict N 2O emissions and thus to develop effective mitigation strategies and estimate global fluxes in a changing environment.
Authors:
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ; ORCiD logo [6]
  1. Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI (United States). Dept. of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences
  2. Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI (United States). Dept. of Integrative Biology and DOE Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Inst.
  3. Hubei Univ., Wuhan (China). Faculty of Resources and Environmental Science
  4. Univ. of Agriculture, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Pakistan). Dept. of Agronomy
  5. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States); Univ. of Chicago, IL (United States). Center for Advanced Radiation Sources
  6. Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI (United States). Dept. of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences; Michigan State Univ., Hickory Corners, MI (United States). W. K. Kellogg Biological Station
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
FC02-07ER64494; FG02-94ER14466
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Geoscience
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 10; Journal Issue: 7; Journal ID: ISSN 1752-0894
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation (NSF); USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
OSTI Identifier:
1418485

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., 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.. 2017. "Hotspots of soil N2O emission enhanced through water absorption by plant residue". United States. doi:10.1038/ngeo2963. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1418485.
@article{osti_1418485,
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},
number = 7,
volume = 10,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {6}
}