Articles | Volume 6, issue 2
Biogeosciences, 6, 171–179, 2009

Special issue: Processes controlling the exchange of ammonia between grassland...

Biogeosciences, 6, 171–179, 2009

  11 Feb 2009

11 Feb 2009

Temporal variability in bioassays of the stomatal ammonia compensation point in relation to plant and soil nitrogen parameters in intensively managed grassland

M. Mattsson1,*, B. Herrmann2, M. David3, B. Loubet3, M. Riedo4, M. R. Theobald4, M. A. Sutton4, D. Bruhn1, A. Neftel2, and J. K. Schjoerring1 M. Mattsson et al.
  • 1Plant and Soil Science Laboratory, University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Life Sciences, Thorvaldsensvej 40, 1871 Frederiksberg C, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 2Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon Rsearch Station ART, Reckenholzstrasse 191, 8046 Zürich, Switzerland
  • 3Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), UMR Environnement et Grandes Cultures, Thiverval-Grignon, France
  • 4Natural Environmental Research Council, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Edinburgh Research Station, Penicuik EH260QB, Midlothian, Scotland
  • *now at: Section for Economy and Technology, Halmstad University, 30118 Halmstad, Sweden

Abstract. The exchange of ammonia between crop canopies and the atmosphere depends on a range of plant parameters and climatic conditions. However, little is known about effects of management factors. We have here investigated the stomatal ammonia compensation point in response to cutting and fertilization of a grass sward dominated by Lolium perenne. Tall grass had a very low NH3 compensation point (around 1 nmol mol−1), reflecting the fact that leaf nitrogen (N) concentration was very low. During re-growth after cutting, leaf tissue concentrations of NO3, NH4+, soluble N and total N increased along with apoplastic NH4+ concentrations. In contrast, apoplastic pH decreased resulting in largely unaltered NH3 compensation points. Nitrogen fertilization one week after cutting caused the apoplastic NH4+ concentration of the newly emerging leaves to increase dramatically. The NH3 compensation point peaked between 15 and 25 nmol mol−1 the day after the fertiliser was applied and thereafter decreased over the following 10 days until reaching the same level as before fertilisation. Ammonium concentrations in leaf apoplast, bulk tissue and litter were positively correlated (P=0.001) throughout the experimental period. Bulk tissue NH4+ concentrations, total plant N and soil NH4+ concentrations also showed a positive correlation. A very high potential for NH3 emission was shown by the plant litter.

Final-revised paper