Nitrification inhibitors can increase post-harvest nitrous oxide emissions in an intensive vegetable production system Academic Article uri icon


  • To investigate the effect of nitrification inhibitors (NIs) 3,4-dimethylpyrazole phosphate (DMPP) and 3-methylpyrazole 1,2,4-triazole (3MP + TZ), on N2O emissions and yield from a typical vegetable rotation in sub-tropical Australia we monitored soil N2O fluxes continuously over an entire year using an automated greenhouse gas measurement system. The temporal variation of N2O fluxes showed only low emissions over the vegetable cropping phases, but significantly higher emissions were observed post-harvest accounting for 50-70% of the annual emissions. NIs reduced N2O emissions by 20-60% over the vegetable cropping phases; however, this mitigation was offset by elevated N2O emissions from the NIs treatments over the post-harvest fallow period. Annual N2O emissions from the conventional fertiliser, the DMPP treatment, and the 3MP + TZ treatment were 1.3, 1.1 and 1.6 (sem = 0.2) kg-N ha-1 year-1, respectively. This study highlights that the use of NIs in vegetable systems can lead to elevated N2O emissions by storing N in the soil profile that is available to soil microbes during the decomposition of the vegetable residues. Hence the use of NIs in vegetable systems has to be treated carefully and fertiliser rates need to be adjusted to avoid an oversupply of N during the post-harvest phase.

publication date

  • 2017