Regulation of the product stoichiometry of denitrification in intensively managed soils
Crop residue amendment in conjunction with synthetic nitrogen (N) fertilization is a common agricultural practice that increases soil fertility and crop yield. However, such a practice may also change soil denitrification process. Here, we conducted an incubation experiment with a robotized continuous flow N2 free incubation system [using helium (He) and oxygen (O2)] and measured fluxes of N2O and N2 at a high resolution in an intensively managed soil to examine the interaction effect of straw amendment and N fertilization on soil denitrification. Four treatments were set consisting of (a) a nonamended treatment (Control); (b) a Straw treatment (2 g straw kg−1 dry soil); (c) a KNO3 treatment (KNO3, 15 mM KNO3); and (d) a Straw + KNO3 treatment (2 g straw kg−1 dry soil and 15 mM KNO3). During the oxic phase (80% He plus 20% O2) of the experiment (initial 2 days), flux rates of N2O were 0.54 and 0.38 kg N/ha day−1 in the Control and KNO3 treatments, respectively. Meanwhile, straw amendment triggered N2O fluxes immediately after the onset of treatments, which was more evident in the Straw + KNO3 treatment. During the anoxic phase (100% He), both N2O and N2 emissions increased in all treatments, with the effect being more pronounced in the Straw and Straw + KNO3 treatments. In line with the observed differences in gas fluxes, the abundances of nirK, nirS, and nosZ genes increased clearly in these treatments. Overall, the mean N2O/(N2O + N2) ratio (0.69 ± 0.03) in the Control treatment was significantly lower compared to the KNO3 treatment (18.8%) and higher than the straw-amended soils (31.9% and 17.4% compared to the Straw and Straw + KNO3 treatments, respectively). Taken together, our results suggest straw amendment significantly altered N2O and N2 fluxes by decreasing the N2O/(N2O + N2) ratio; however, the effects of straw amendment depended on soil nitrate content.