Using stable isotopes to follow excreta N dynamics and N2O emissions in animal production systems




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Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a potent greenhouse gas and the dominant anthropogenic stratospheric ozone-depleting emission. The tropospheric concentration of N2O continues to increase, with animal production systems constituting the largest anthropogenic source. Stable isotopes of nitrogen (N) provide tools for constraining emission sources and, following the temporal dynamics of N2O, providing additional insight and unequivocal proof of N2O source, production pathways and consumption. The potential for using stable isotopes of N is underutilised. The intent of this article is to provide an overview of what these tools are and demonstrate where and how these tools could be applied to advance the mitigation of N2O emissions from animal production systems. Nitrogen inputs and outputs are dominated by fertiliser and excreta, respectively, both of which are substrates for N2O production. These substrates can be labelled with 15N to enable the substrate-N to be traced and linked to N2O emissions. Thus, the effects of changes to animal production systems to reduce feed-N wastage by animals and fertiliser wastage, aimed at N2O mitigation and/or improved animal or economic performance, can be traced. Further 15N-tracer studies are required to fully understand the dynamics and N2O fluxes associated with excreta, and the biological contribution to these fluxes. These data are also essential for the new generation of 15N models. Recent technique developments in isotopomer science along with stable isotope probing using multiple isotopes also offer exciting capability for addressing the N2O mitigation quest.




Dieser Beitrag ist mit Zustimmung des Rechteinhabers aufgrund einer (DFG geförderten) Allianz- bzw. Nationallizenz frei zugänglich. This publication is with permission of the rights owner freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.

Erstpublikation in

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Erstpublikation in

Animal (2013), 7:s2, pp 418-426, doi:10.1017/S1751731113000773