Contribution of different grass species to plant-atmosphere ammonia exchange in intensively managed grassland

M. Mattsson, B. Herrmann, S. Jones, A. Neftel, M. A. Sutton, J. K. Schjoerring

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
34 Downloads (Pure)


Species diversity in grasslands usually declines with increasing input of nitrogen from fertilizers or atmospheric deposition. Conversely, species diversity may also impact the build-up of soil and plant nitrogen pools. One important pool is NH3/NH+4 which also can be exchanged between plant leaves and the atmosphere. Limited information is available on how plant-atmosphere ammonia exchange is related to species diversity in grasslands. We have here investigated grass species abundance and different foliar nitrogen pools in 4-year-old intensively managed grassland. Apoplastic pH and NH+4 concentrations of the 8 most abundant species (Lolium perenne, Phleum pratense, Festuca pratensis, Lolium multiflorum, Poa pratensis, Dactylis glomerata, Holcus lanatus, Bromus mollis) were used to calculate stomatal NH3 compensation points. Apoplastic NH+4 concentrations differed considerably among the species, ranging from 13 to 117μM, with highest values in Festuca pratensis. Also apoplastic pH values varied, from pH 6.0 in Phleum pratense to 6.9 in Dactylis glomerata. The observed differences in apoplastic NH+ 4 and pH resulted in a large span of predicted values for the stomatal NH3 compensation point which ranged between 0.20 and 6.57 nmol mol-1. Three species (Lolium perenne, Festuca pratensis and Dactylis glomerata) had sufficiently high NH3 compensation point and abundance to contribute to the bi-directional NH3 fluxes recorded over the whole field. The other 5 grass species had NH3 compensation points considerably below the atmospheric NH3 concentration and were thus not likely to con- tribute to NH3 emission but only to NH3 uptake from the atmosphere. Evaluated across species, leaf bulk-tissue NH +4 concentrations correlated well (r2=0.902) with stomatal NH3 compensation points calculated on the basis of the apoplastic bioassay. This suggests that leaf tissue NH+4 concentrations combined with data for the frequency distribution of the corresponding species can be used for predicting the NH3 exchange potential of a mixed grass sward.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-66
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPrint publication - 9 Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes


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