Emissions of N2O and CO2, denitrification measurements and soil properties in red clover and ryegrass stands

Miloslav Šimek*, Dana Elhottová, František Klimeš, David W. Hopkins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


The relationships between the fluxes of nitrous oxide (N2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2), and their concentrations in the soil air, three different measures of potential denitrification, soil moisture, soil temperature and precipitation were investigated in soils from beneath ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.), red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) and mixture of ryegrass-red clover stands on a gleic cambisol. Investigations were carried out in order to test the hypothesis that the measure(s) of potential denitrification are good predictor(s) of N2O fluxes and thus may be used in empirical models of N2O emission. Potential denitrification characteristics used in this study involved (i) short-term denitrifying enzyme activity (DEA), (ii) long-term denitrification potential (DP), both determined in soils amended with nitrate and glucose, and (iii) denitrification rate (DR) measured using intact soil cores. Flux measurements were made using cylindrical chambers (internal diameter 31 cm, volume 0.015 m3). The fluxes of N2O and CO2 and many other characteristics showed large spatial and temporal variability. Emissions of N2O from the grass plots were closely related to N2O concentrations in the soil atmosphere at 22.5 cm depth. Most soil properties did not correlate with N 2O fluxes. It was concluded that DP was not a good predictor for N2O flux. DEA did not show significant relationship with N 2O flux, but it is suggested that if determined in representative, large soil samples, DEA could be a predictor of N2O fluxes; this assumption needs, however, verification. The only potential denitrification characteristic which was significantly related to N2O emission both in grass and clover treatments was DR, which was determined in soil cores.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-21
Number of pages13
JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
Issue number1
Publication statusPrint publication - Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Carbon dioxide
  • Clover
  • Denitrification
  • Denitrifying enzyme activity
  • Emission
  • Grass
  • Nitrous oxide


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