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Sci Total Environ. 2007 Nov 15;387(1-3):194-205. Epub 2007 Sep 5.

Greenhouse gas production in a pond sediment: effects of temperature, nitrate, acetate and season.

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  • 1Department of Ecology, Limnology, Lund University, Sweden.


In this paper we investigate the impact of nitrate (NO(3)(-)) concentration and temperature on the production of carbon dioxide (CO(2)), methane (CH(4)) and nitrous oxide (N(2)O). We studied sediment collected during spring, summer and autumn from a constructed pond in South Sweden. Homogenised sediment samples were dark incubated in vitro under N(2) atmosphere at 13 degrees C and 20 degrees C after addition of five NO(3)(-) concentrations, between 0 and 16 mg NO(3)(-)-N per litre. We found higher net production of N(2)O and CO(2) at the higher temperature. Moreover, increased NO(3)(-) concentrations had strong positive impact on the N(2)O concentration, but no effect on CH(4) and CO(2) production. The lack of response in CO(2) is suggested to be due to the use of alternative oxidants as electron acceptors. Interaction between NO(3)(-) and temperature suggests a further increase of N(2)O net production when both NO(3)(-) and temperature are high. Our interpretation of the CH(4) data is that at high concentrations of NO(3)(-) temperature is of less importance for CH(4) production. We also found that at 13 degrees C CH(4) production was substrate limited and that the addition of acetate increased CH(4) as well as CO(2) production. There was a seasonal effect on gas production potential, with more CH(4) and N(2)O produced in spring than in summer. Re-calculation of the gas concentrations into global warming potential (GWP) units (i.e. CO(2), CH(4), and N(2)O transferred to CO(2) equivalents) shows that GWP increases with temperature. However, under environmental conditions generally occurring in South Swedish ponds, i.e. low temperature and high NO(3)(-) concentration during spring and high temperature and low NO(3)(-) concentration during summer, NO(3)(-) concentration is of minor importance.

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