Effects of hotter, drier conditions on gaseous losses from nitrogen fertilisers

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Drame, M., Carswell, A. M., Roberts, W., Hood, J., Jemo, M., Heuer, S., Kirk, G., Pawlett, M. and Misselbrook, T. H. 2023. Effects of hotter, drier conditions on gaseous losses from nitrogen fertilisers. Journal of Environmental Management. 345, p. 118671. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2023.118671

AuthorsDrame, M., Carswell, A. M., Roberts, W., Hood, J., Jemo, M., Heuer, S., Kirk, G., Pawlett, M. and Misselbrook, T. H.
Abstract

Global warming is expected to cause hotter, drier summers and more extreme weather events including heat waves and droughts. A little understood aspect of this is its effects on the efficacy of fertilisers and related nutrient losses into the environment. We explored the effects of high soil temperature (>25 ◦C) and low soil moisture (<40% water filled pore space; WFPS) on emissions of ammonia (NH3) and nitrous oxide (N2O) following application of urea to soil and the efficacy of urease inhibitors (UI) in slowing N losses. We incubated soil columns at three temperatures (15, 25, 35 ◦C) and three soil moisture contents (20, 40, 60% WFPS) with urea
applied on the soil surface with and without UIs, and measured NH3 and N2O emissions using chambers placed over the columns. Four fertiliser treatments were applied in triplicate in a randomised complete block design: (1) urea; (2) urea with a single UI (N-(n-butyl) thiophosphoric triamide (NBPT); (3) urea with two UI (NBPT and N-(n-propyl) thiophosphoric triamide; NPPT); and (4) a zero N control. Inclusion of UI with urea, relative to urea alone, delayed and reduced peak NH3 emissions. However, the efficacy of UI was reduced with increasing temperature and decreasing soil moisture. Cumulative NH3 emission did not differ between the two UI treatments for a given set of conditions and was reduced by 22–87% compared with urea alone. Maximum cumulative NH3 emission occurred at 35 ◦C and 20% WFPS, accounting for 31% of the applied N for the urea treatment and 25%, on average for the UI treatments. Urease inhibitors did not influence N2O emissions; however, there were interactive impacts of temperature and moisture, with higher cumulative emissions at 40% WFPS and 15 and 25 ◦C accounting for 1.85–2.62% of the applied N, whereas at 35 ◦C there was greater N2O emission at 60% WFPS. Our results suggest that inclusion of UI with urea effectively reduces NH3 losses at temperatures reaching 35 ◦C, although overall effectiveness decreases with increasing temperature, particularly under low soil moisture conditions.

KeywordsNitrogen fertiliser; Ammonia mitigation; Greenhouse gas; Urease
Year of Publication2023
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Journal citation345, p. 118671
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2023.118671
Web address (URL)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301479723014597
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderOffice Chérifien des Phosphate (OCP)
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online26 Jul 2023
Publication process dates
Accepted22 Jul 2023
PublisherAcademic Press Ltd- Elsevier Science Ltd
ISSN0301-4797

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