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Kinetics of nitrification in soils of the central irrigation areas in south africa



Kinetics of nitrification in soils of the central irrigation areas in south africa



South African Journal of Plant and Soil 6(4): 250-255



The course of nitrification was monitored in eight soils from the central irrigation areas after application of (NH4)2SO at the equivalent of 100 kg N ha-1 to both the top and subsoils. During incubation at 30.degree.C the NH4+, NO2- and NO3- were measured at regular time intervals. First-order equations were used to calculate nitrification parameters like maximum nitrification (Kmax), duration of the delay period (t'), period of maximum nitrification (.DELTA.t) and duration of the delay plus the maximum nitrification period (ts). The parameters varied as follows: Kmax from 1,1 to 15,1 mg NO3--N kg-1; t' from 0,8 to 7,3 days; .DELTA.t from 2,6 to 31,6 days and ts from 35,5 days. An increase in Kmax was accompanied throughout by a decrease in the time parameters. In comparison with reported results by other researchers the nitrification activity of these soils were slightly low. In five of the eight cases the nitrification activity in the topsoils was higher than in the subsoils, while in two of the other three cases the reverse was true. Nitrification activity was controlled in these soils by the initial population of nitrifiers, supply of NH4+ and CO2 and especially the buffer capacity of the soils.

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