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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: CROP AND SOIL MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS FOR WATER QUALITY PROTECTION AND AGRICULTURAL SUSTAINABILITY

Location: Agroecosystem Management Research

Title: Gaseous Losses of Nitrogen Other Than Through Denitrification

Authors
item Francis, Dennis
item Vigil, Merle
item Moiser, Arvin - RETIRED ARS SCIENTIST

Submitted to: American Society of Agronomy
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: June 3, 2008
Publication Date: October 5, 2008
Citation: Francis, D.D., Vigil, M.F., Moiser, A.R. 2008. Gaseous Losses of Nitrogen Other Than Through Denitrification [abstract] . ASA-SCCA-SSSA Annual Meeting, October 5-9, 2008, Houston, Texas. 2008 CDROM. Abstract No. 749.5.

Technical Abstract: Nitrogen (N) losses from human activities are the major reason behind the growing concerns about the enrichment of the biosphere with reactive N. The single largest cause of human alteration of the global N cycle is crop production. Reactive atmospheric N trace gases resulting from agricultural activities include NOx (NO and NO2), NHx (NH3 and NH4+), and N2O. An accurate quantification of sources and sinks for reactive atmospheric N trace gases constitutes a considerable scientific challenge because of large temporal and spatial variability. Major sources of atmospheric NH3 include volatilization from decomposition of animal excrement, fertilized and unfertilized soils, vegetation, oceans, biomass burning and other combustion processes. Microbial denitrification and nitrification are the main sources of NOx and N2O emitted from soils. Chemical denitrification and other kinds of bacterial metabolism involving oxidation or reduction of N also yield trace amounts of these two gases. In addition, NO is released in the burning of fossil fuels used for various agricultural related activities. Burning of biomass for agricultural purposes also results in the formation of NO and NO2. Effects of N enrichment of the biosphere range from atmospheric changes to alterations of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

Last Modified: 4/17/2014