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Impact of nitrogen compounds on fungal and bacterial contributions to codenitrification in a pasture soil

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posted on 2023-05-03, 18:29 authored by David Rex, Timothy Clough, Karl Richards, Leo Condron, Cecile DeKlein, Sergio Morales, Gary Lanigan
Ruminant urine patches on grazed grassland are a significant source of agricultural nitrous oxide (N2o) emissions. Of the many biotic and abiotic N2O production mechanisms initiated following urine-urea deposition, codenitrification resulting in the formation of hybrid N2O, is one of the least understood. Codenitrification forms hybrid N2O via biotic N-nitrosation, co-metabolising organic and inorganic N compounds (N substrates) to produce N2O. The objective of this study was to assess the relative significance of different N substrates on codenitrification and to determine the contributions of fungi and bacteria to codenitrification. 15N-labelled ammonium, hydroxylamine (NH2OH) and two amino acids (phenylalanine or glycine) were applied, separately, to sieved soil mesocosms eight days after a simulated urine event, in the absence or presence of bacterial and fungal inhibitors. Soil chemical variables and n2O fluxes were monitored and the codenitrified N2O fluxes determined. Fungal inhibition decreased N2O fluxes by ca. 40% for both amino acid treatments, while bacterial inhibition only decreased the N2O flux of the glycine treatment, by 14%. Hydroxylamine (NH2OH) generated the highest N2O fluxes which declined with either fungal or bacterial inhibition alone, while combined inhibition resulted in a 60% decrease in the N2O flux. All the N substrates examined participated to some extent in codenitrification. Trends for codenitrification under the NH2OH substrate treatment followed those of total N2O fluxes (85.7% of total N2O flux). Codenitrification fluxes under non-NH2OH substrate treatments (0.7–1.2% of total N2O flux) were two orders of magnitude lower, and significant decreases in these treatments only occurred with fungal inhibition in the amino acid substrate treatments. These results demonstrate that in situ studies are required to better understand the dynamics of codenitrification substrates in grazed pasture soils and the associated role that fungi have with respect to codenitrification


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© The Author(s) 2019. Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.


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Springer Nature

Journal title

Scientific Reports




Rex, D., Clough, T. J., Richards, K. G., Condron, L. M., de Klein, C. A. M., Morales, S. E., & Lanigan, G. J. (2019). Impact of nitrogen compounds on fungal and bacterial contributions to codenitrification in a pasture soil. Scientific Reports, 9(1), 13371. doi:10.1038/s41598-019-49989-y

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