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Dicyandiamide has more inhibitory activities on nitrification than thiosulfate
Dicyandiamide (DCD) and thiosulfates are two type of nitrification inhibitors (NIs) that have been widely used in agriculture to improve nitrogen (N) fertilizer use efficiency and mitigate negative effect of N on environment. Little information is available concerning the comparison of the efficacy of DCD and thiosulfate on N transformations in soil. The aim of this study was to compare the effects of DCD and thiosulfate (K2S2O3) on changes of NH4+-N, nitrification inhibition and N recovery in a latosolic red soil. An incubation experiment was conducted with four treatments of control (CK), N, N+DCD, and N+K2S2O3. Soil samples were collected periodically over 50 d to determine concentrations of mineral N, and the amoA gene abundance of ammonia monooxygenase (AMO) for ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) was estimated by qPCR after 10 d incubation. In the N treatment, 67.8% of the applied N as NH4+-N disappeared from the mineral N pool and only 2.7% and 30.8% of the applied N was accumulated as NO2--N and NO3--N, respectively. Addition of DCD and thiosulfate to the soil prevented NH4+-N disappearance by 63.0% and 13.6%, respectively. DCD suppressed the production of NO2--N by 97.41%, whereas thiosulfate increased accumulation of NO2--N by 14.6%. Application of N along with DCD and thiosulfate inhibited nitrification, respectively, by 72.6% and 33.1%, resulting in the delay of the nitrification process for 30 days and 10 days, respectively. Apparent N recovery in N treatment was 66.2%, which increased by 55.2% and 4.8% by DCD and thiosulfate, respectively. Numbers of AOB amoA gene copy was significantly inhibited by both DCD and thiosulfate, and the stronger inhibition induced by DCD than thiosulfate was recorded. Results indicated that both DCD and thiosulfate were effective inhibitors for NH4+-N oxidation, NO3--N production, mineral N losses and AOB growth. DCD showed a more pronounced effect on nitrification inhibition than thiosulfate.
Nitrogen is an essential element for plant growth and crop productivity in agroecosystems and undergoes a series of microbial transformations in soils. During N transformation, the nitrification plays a key role in regulating soil N loss in relation to nitrate leaching and oxynitride emissions to the environment. Conversion of ammonia to nitrite is the first and rate-limiting step in nitrification and three different groups of microorganisms including ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB), ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) and comammox bacteria, which all possess a pivotal enzyme-ammonia monooxy-genase (AMO) enzyme, conduct this pathway. Oxidation of ammonia is considered as the main contributor to the ammonium: nitrate balance in terrestrial ecosystems, receiving much attention in difficulties relating to the chemical reactive nature of NO2--N. Isobe et al. (2012) observed the simultaneous production and consumption of NO2-, which exhibited a faster conversion rate than NH4+ and NO3-, suggesting that rapid NO2- turnover could be a major driving force for N transformation in forest soil. It is generally accepted that NO2- rarely accumulates in terrestrial ecosystems. However, NO2- accumulation may occur as the consumption rate is lower than the production rate.
Nitrification inhibitors have been proved as an effective tool to reduce N loss and improve N use efficiency in last decades. According to their modes of action on nitrification, NIs are divided into two groups: one group of chemicals inhibit the oxidation of NH3 to NO2-, and another group of chemicals suppress the conversion of NO2- to NO3-. Among the chemicals available, DCD and thiosulfate are two different types of NIs, which retard the first and the second stage of nitrification, respectively. Previous work suggest that net nitrification rate was significantly related to the abundance of AOB not AOA, and DCD exerted more greater inhibition on the growth of AOB than AOA . It was observed that the AOB rather than AOA functionally dominate NH3 oxidation irrespective of N-rich grassland soil or high N input vegetable soil. AOB is also found to be inactive in acidic conditions. Thiosulfate inhibits NH3 oxidation by heterotrophic nitrifiers , however, very limited information is available on the distinct effects of thiosulfate on the growth of AOB or AOA in soil.