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    Assessing the impact of long-term soil phosphorus on N-transformation pathways using 15N tracing
    A laboratory incubation study was conducted on a temperate grassland soil to quantify the main mineral nitrogen (N) transformation rates and pathways via a15N tracing approach. Soil samples were taken from a long-term phosphorus (P) trial to investigate the effects on gross N-transformations under high and low phosphorus amendment. The soils were incubated over a 2-week period and treated with ammonium-nitrate (NH4NO3) which was applied to the soil both with and without a glucose amendment and labelled with 15N either on the ammonium (NH4+) or nitrate (NO3−) moiety at 50% atom enrichment. The results showed immobilisation to greatly outweigh mineralisation and that NO3− was predominantly produced via heterotrophic nitrification. Individual pathways for NO3− production were quantified including oxidation of NH4+, recalcitrant and labile organic N. Oxidation of labile organic N to NO3−, a newly considered pathway, accounted for between 63 and 83% of total NO3− production across the various treatments and P levels. This process was significantly higher in the low-P rather than the high-P soils (p < 0.05), highlighting the effect of soil P on the microbial community.
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