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Chemical transformations of urea nitrogen and movement of nitrogen in a short grass prairie soil


Chemical transformations of urea nitrogen and movement of nitrogen in a short grass prairie soil



Soil Science Society of America Journal 45(5): 893-898



ISSN/ISBN: 0361-5995

A study was conducted to quantify the temporal dynamics of the transformations of N in a simulated urine spot, to determine the effect of urea hydrolysis on pH, and to determine the depth of movement of nitrate by leaching. Miniplots of blue grama were established, and open-ended aluminum cylinders 10 cm in diameter and 40 cm in length were embedded in each plot. Simulated urine was applied to 2/3 of the plots at a rate of up to 45 g N m-2. The remaining plots were controls. After the simulated urine application, only 6% of the added N remained as urea at 2 days; no urea-N remained at 4 days. Maximum accumulation of ammonium-N (39.9 g N m-2) was simultaneous with the disappearance of urea. Elevated levels of nitrate were first detected at day 12 when 6.7 g N m-2 had accumulated. No measurable nitrite accumulated during the experiment. Through the first 4 days, 83% of the (urea + ammonium)-N in the profile was in the top 15 cm of the soil. With the rains near the end of the study, nitrification proceeded, and nitrate was leached through the profile to below the depth of the cores. Simulated urine significantly affedted soil pH to 15 cm. From an initial pH near 6.0, urea hydrolysis increased soil pH from 0.6 to 1.3 units. As nitrification proceeded after day 40, the pH decreased to below control levels.

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Accession: 004939814

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