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Soil respiratory quotient determined via barometric process separation combined with nitrogen-15 labeling

Soil Science Society of America Journal
Soil Science Society of America
Publication Date
  • Gross Nitrification Rates
  • Barometric Process Separation (Baps)
  • ?????N Labeling Technique
  • Soil Respiratory Quotient
  • Chemistry


The barometric process separation (BaPS) and ?????N dilution techniques were used to determine gross nitrification rates on the same soil cores from an old grassland soil. The BaPS-technique separates the O??? consumption into that from nitrification and that from soil organic matter (SOM) respiration. The most sensitive parameter for the calculations via the BaPS technique is the respiratory quotient (RQ = ???CO???/???O???) for SOM turnover (RQSOM). Combining both methods (BaPS????????N ) allowed the determination of the RQSOM. The RQ value determined in such a way is adjusted for the influence of nitrification and denitrification, which are both characterized by totally different RQ values. The results for the grassland soil showed that 6 to 10% of O??? was consumed by nitrification when incubated at 20??C and 0.49 g H???O g????? soil. A set of BaPS measurements with the same soil at various temperature and moisture contents showed that up to 49% of the total O??? consumption was due to nitrification. The calculated RQSOM values via the BaPS????????N technique presented here are more closely associated with the overall SOM turnover than the usual net RQ reported in the literature. Furthermore, the RQSOM value provides an overall indication of the decomposability and chemical characteristics of the respired organic material. Hence, it has the potential to serve as a single state index for SOM quality and therefore be a useful index for SOM turnover models based on substrate quality.

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