Calibrated Passive Sampling - Multi-plot Field Measurements of NH3 Emissions with a Combination of Dynamic Tube Method and Passive Samplers

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Agricultural ammonia (NH 3) emissions (90% of total EU emissions) are responsible for about 45% airborne eutrophication, 31% soil acidification and 12% fine dust formation within the EU15. But NH3 emissions also mean a considerable loss of nutrients. Many studies on NH 3 emission from organic and mineral fertilizer application have been performed in recent decades. Nevertheless, research related to NH 3 emissions after application fertilizers is still limited in particular with respect to relationships to emissions, fertilizer type, site conditions and crop growth. Due to the variable response of crops to treatments, effects can only be validated in experimental designs including field replication for statistical testing. The dominating ammonia loss methods yielding quantitative emissions require large field areas, expensive equipment or current supply, which restricts their application in replicated field trials. This protocol describes a new methodology for the measurement of NH 3 emissions on many plots linking a simple semi-quantitative measuring method used in all plots, with a quantitative method by simultaneous measurements using both methods on selected plots. As a semi-quantitative measurement method passive samplers are used. The second method is a dynamic chamber method (Dynamic Tube Method) to obtain a transfer quotient, which converts the semi-quantitative losses of the passive sampler to quantitative losses (kg nitrogen ha -1). The principle underlying this approach is that passive samplers placed in a homogeneous experimental field have the same NH 3 absorption behavior under identical environmental conditions. Therefore, a transfer co-efficient obtained from single passive samplers can be used to scale the values of all passive samplers used in the same field trial. The method proved valid under a wide range of experimental conditions and is recommended to be used under conditions with bare soil or small canopies (<0.3 m). Results obtained from experiments with taller plants should be treated more carefully.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere53273
Issue number109
Publication statusPublished - 21.03.2016

    Research areas

  • Environmental Sciences, Issue 109, dynamic chamber, ammonia emissions, multi-plot field trial, field replication, agriculture, nitrogen, fertilizer, passive sampler
  • Chemistry