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Chloroform Fumigation And The Release Of Soil Nitrogen: The Effects Of Fumigation Time And Temperature

P. Brookes, J. Kragt, D. Powlson, D. Jenkinson
Published 1985 · Chemistry

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Fumigation with CHC13 (24 h, 25°C) increased the amount of NH4-N and total N extracted by 0.5 M K2SO4 from two soils (one arable, one grassland). The amount of N released by CHC13 increased with the duration of fumigation up to 5 days, when it levelled off. Between about 10–34% of the total N released by CHC13 was in the form of NH4-N, the proportion increasing with duration of exposure. When a grassland soil that had received a field application of 15N-labelled fertilizer 1 yr previously was fumigated, the N released by CHC13 was 4 times more heavily labelled than the soil N as a whole. Prolonging the exposure of this soil to CHC13 increased the amount of total N released, but hardly altered the proportion of labelled N in the CHC13-released N, suggesting that N is being released from a single soil fraction. The most likely soil fraction is the soil microbial biomass. It is suggested that CHC13 does not alter the K2SO4-extractability of soil-N fractions other than microbial N and that the extra N released by CHC13 and extracted by K2SO4 gives a direct measure of soil microbial biomass N. In contrast to fumigation done at lower temperatures, less total N was released by soil fumigated at 60°C, or above, than was released from unfumigated soil held at the same temperature. The greater release of N in the non-fumigated soils above 60°C could have been due to soil enzymic processes which were inhibited by CHC13 in the fumigated soil.
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