Benke, M. B., Goh, T. B., Karamanos, R., Lupwayi, N. Z. and Hao, X. 2012. Retention and nitrification of injected anhydrous NH3as affected by soil pH. Can. J. Soil Sci. 92: 589-598. Anhydrous ammonia is an economical and extensively used fertilizer, yet loss after injection can reduce its agronomic efficiency. A laboratory experiment was conducted to examine how soil properties affect ammonia retention and nitrification following anhydrous NH3 injection using 10 different Canadian prairie soils. Soils were also injected with atmospheric air for comparison. Following injection, soils were incubated for up to 216 h at field capacity. Among the soil properties studied [pH (1:2 water), clay, total N, and organic C contents], only pH was negatively related (R2=0.55, n=10, 24 h incubation) to percentage injected N retained by soil. The amount of N retained by soil 24 h following injection was 92±2% (mean±SEM) when pH <6, compared with 64±2% when pH>7.5. Rate of nitrification increased (P<0.001) about 48-96 h following injection and was greater in pH>7.5 than pH<6 soils. There was no difference (P>0.05) in bacterial diversity between ammonia- and air-injected soils. The slower nitrification rates suggest that potential leaching and denitrification losses in acid soils could be smaller than in alkaline soils.
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Vol. 92 • No. 4