Influence of soil bulk density and matric potential on microbial dynamics, inorganic N transformations, N₂O and N₂ fluxes following urea deposition
Hamonts, Kelly; Balaine, Nimlesh; Moltchanova, E.; Beare, M.; Thomas, S.; Wakelin, S.; O'Callaghan, M.; Condron, Leo M.; Clough, Timothy J.
Transformation of ruminant urine-nitrogen (N) can contribute to negative environmental outcomes such as nitrate leaching which leads to eutrophication of waterways and production of nitrous oxide (N₂O), a greenhouse gas. Although abiotic factors influencing urine-N processing have been well studied, detailed studies of the soil microbial community dynamics following urine application are required to improve mitigation strategies for reducing harmful N fluxes from urine deposition. A factorial laboratory experiment using packed silt-loam soil cores with two levels each of urea (±), soil matric potential (ψ −6.0 or −0.2 kPa) and soil bulk density (ρb 1.1 or 1.5 g cm⁻³) was performed to study the interaction of urea and soil physical conditions on both soil inorganic N transformations and the abundance of ammonia-oxidizers and denitrifiers. Soil ψ and ρb treatments had an immediate impact on soil pH, dissolved organic carbon, inorganic N pools and emissions of N₂O and N₂ following urea deposition, and microorganisms carrying the nosZ gene were present in lower numbers in the most aerobic soil (−6.0 kPa and 1.1 g cm⁻³) from day 7. In all treatments, both bacterial amoA and denitrifier nirS, nirK and nosZ gene copy numbers increased within 1 day following urea application. Dynamics in the concentrations were significantly correlated with cumulative changes in the abundance of the ammonia-oxidizers, but no relation was found between cumulative changes in the denitrifier nirS, nirK and nosZ gene copy numbers and the dynamics in soil inorganic N, N₂O or N₂ emissions. Throughout most of the study period the specific soil conditions, induced by the ψ and ρb treatments, determined nitrifier and denitrifier activity rather than the size of the microbial communities involved. However, by day 35 soil ψ and ρb treatments exerted large treatment effects on bacterial amoA, nirS and nirK gene copy numbers. Thus, although nitrate concentrations and N₂O emissions following urea deposition were determined by the soil ψ and ρb conditions in the short-term, our results indicate that changes in the population sizes of denitrifiers and AOB in ruminant urine patches may influence environmental N fluxes in the long-term.... [Show full abstract]
Keywordsammonia-oxidizing bacteria; ammonia-oxidizing archaea; nirS; nirK; nosZ; amoA; nitrification; denitrification; urine; Agronomy & Agriculture
Fields of Research050303 Soil Biology; 050304 Soil Chemistry (excl. Carbon Sequestration Science); 070101 Agricultural Land Management; 0702 Animal Production; 05 Environmental Sciences; 06 Biological Sciences; 07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences
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