AGU Poster Presentation by Greg Michalski: Oxygen and nitrogen isotope effects duing nitrification and denitrification occuring in Midwesern soils

Center for the Environment
December 12, 2017
1:40 PM - 6:00 PM
New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center - Poster Hall D-F


The processes of nitrification and denitrification are key steps in the biogeochemical cycling of N and are a main control on ecosystem productivity. These processes are ephemeral and often difficult to assess across wide spatial and temporal scales. Natural abundance stable isotopes are a way of potentially assessing these two processes across multiple scales. We have conducted incubation experiments to assess the N and O isotope effects occurring during denitrification in soils typical of the Midwestern United States. Nitrification was examined by incubating soils amended with ammonium (with a known δ15N) mixed with H2O and O2 that had different δ18O values and then measured the δ15N and δ18O of the product nitrate. The fraction of nitrate oxygen arising from H2O and O2 was determined along with the N and O kinetic isotope effect (KIE). For denitrification, nitrate with a known δ15N, δ17O, and δ18O, was incubated in anaerobic soils from 12-48 hours. The residual nitrate was analyzed for isotope change and the KIE for O and N as well as exchange with H2O was determined. These data can be useful for interpreting nitrate isotopes in agricultural fields as a way off assessing nitrification and denitrification is agricultural ecosystems such as the IML-CZO.

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