Biological production and consumption of nitrous oxide in soils

D. W. Hopkins*, L. Dundee, E. A. Webster, M. Šimek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Nitrous oxide (N2O) may be produced in the soil by both abiotic and biotic processes, with the contributions from biotic processes being more significant. The major direct, biotic sources of N2O are denitrification and nitrification, although nitrifying bacteria also make an indirect contribution, because the NO3- produced may be subject to denitrification. N2O is both produced and consumed by the process of denitrification, and the balance between production and consumption determines net N2O production. In this paper, the biological processes of N2O production, the approaches to determining the contributions from these different sources, and the way in which the different interacting processes influence overall N2O emission are outlined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-151
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Soil Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPrint publication - Jul 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Denitrification
  • Fertilizers
  • Inhibition
  • Microorganisms
  • Natural abundance
  • Nitrification


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