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Short-term biotic removal of dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) compounds from soil solution and subsequent mineralisation in contrasting grassland soils

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Alison M Carswell
  • Paul Hill
  • Davey Jones
  • Martin Blackwell
  • Penny J Johnes
  • David Chadwick
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-85
Number of pages4
JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
Early online date8 Feb 2016
DateAccepted/In press - 24 Jan 2016
DateE-pub ahead of print - 8 Feb 2016
DatePublished (current) - May 2016


Cycling of low molecular weight dissolved organic nitrogen compounds constitutes an important component of soil organic matter turnover in soils. We determined how rapidly grassland soils can cycle urea, compared to the amino acid l-alanine, and the peptide l-trialanine. Using naturally occurring concentrations of 14C-labelled compounds the rates of removal from soil solution and subsequent mineralisation were measured. Biotic removal of all three compounds and subsequent mineralisation to CO2 occurred within minutes. This research has demonstrated, for the first time, the potential for rapid removal of urea at low concentrations by the soil microbial biomass.

    Research areas

  • Dissolved organic matter, Nutrient cycling, Urea, Urine patch

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