The effect of nitrogen input on N2O emission depends on precipitation in a temperate desert steppe

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Yue, P., Li, K., Hu, Y., Qiao, J., Wang, S., Ma, X., Misselbrook, T. H. and Zuo, X. 2024. The effect of nitrogen input on N2O emission depends on precipitation in a temperate desert steppe. Science of the Total Environment. 924 (10 May), p. 171572.

AuthorsYue, P., Li, K., Hu, Y., Qiao, J., Wang, S., Ma, X., Misselbrook, T. H. and Zuo, X.

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is the third most important greenhouse gas, and can damage the atmospheric ozone layer, with associated threats to terrestrial ecosystems. However, to date it is unclear how extreme precipitation and nitrogen (N) input will affect N2O emissions in temperate desert steppe ecosystems. Therefore, we conducted an in-situ in a temperate desert steppe in the northwest of Inner Mongolia, China between 2018 and 2021, in which N inputs were combined with natural extreme precipitation events, with the aim of better understanding the mechanism of any interactive effects on N2O emission. The study result showed that N2O emission in this desert steppe was relatively small and did not show significant seasonal change. The annual N2O emission increased in a non-linear trend with increasing N input, with a much greater effect of N input in a wet year (2019) than in a dry year (2021). This was mainly due to the fact that the boost effect of high N input (on June 17th 2019) on N2O emission was greatly amplified by nearly 17–46 times by an extreme precipitation event on June 24th 2019. In contrast, this greatly promoting effect of high N input on N2O emission was not observed on September 26th 2019 by a similar extreme precipitation event. Further analysis showed that soil NH4+-N content and the abundance of ammonia oxidizing bacteria (amoA (AOB)) were the most critical factors affecting N2O emission. Soil moisture played an important indirect role in regulating N2O emission, mainly by influencing the abundance of amoA (AOB) and de-nitrification functional microorganisms (nosZ gene). In conclusion, the effect of extreme precipitation events on N2O emission was greatly increased by high N input. Furthermore, in this desert steppe, annual N2O flux is co-managed through soil nitrification substrate concentration (NH4+-N), the abundance of soil N transformation functional microorganisms and soil moisture. Overall, it was worth noting that an increase in extreme precipitation coupled with increasing N input may significantly increase future N2O emissions from desert steppes.

KeywordsNitrogen output; Extreme precipitation event; Functional genes; Substrate concentration; Coupling effect
Year of Publication2024
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Journal citation924 (10 May), p. 171572
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Open accessPublished as non-open access
FunderNational Natural Science Foundation of China
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeS2N - Soil to Nutrition - Work package 2 (WP2) - Adaptive management systems for improved efficiency and nutritional quality
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online09 May 2024
Publication process dates
Accepted06 Mar 2024
PublisherElsevier Science Bv

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