Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Lincoln, Nebraska » Agroecosystem Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #230113

Title: Gaseous losses of nitrogen other than through denitrification

item Francis, Dennis
item Vigil, Merle
item Moiser, Arvin

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/21/2002
Publication Date: 1/1/2008
Citation: Francis, D.D., Vigil, M.F., Moiser, A.R. 2008. Gaseous losses of nitrogen other than through denitrification. In: J.S. Schepers and W.R. Raun, editors. Nitrogen in Agricultural Systems. Agronomy Monograph 49. Madison, WI: American Society of Agronomy. p. 255-279.

Interpretive Summary:

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.