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Modeling Temperature Effects on Decomposition and Nitrogen Mineralization

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  032125,  2003 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.14953) @2003
Authors:   David M. Crohn
Keywords:   Decomposition; Nitrogen, Mineralization Temperature; Land Application, Organic Amendments

Temperature can dramatically accelerate or dampen nitrogen (N) mineralization and carbon (C) decay rates. This paper outlines an approach for including the effects of temperature on these processes by modifying time according to the Arrhenius equation. It also considers two first-order modeling techniques for N mineralization. The first, MEI, models mineralization directly and excludes immobilization. The second, MII, includes immobilization by modeling N release as a function of C decay. After consideration of an incubation of 31 different materials, it is found that mineralization from unamended composts should be managed differently from amended composts and manures as unamended composts tend to immobilize N. For the MEI approach, an N mineralization rate of 0.0106 day-1 is found to appropriate for the labile fraction of manures and amended composts while the magnitude of the labile fraction is found to vary according to the fraction of nonpolar soluble carbon in the material. For the MII approach, unamended composts shared a C decomposition rate of 0.0151 day-1 while labile fractions and immobilization parameters varied according to material. Insufficient samples of MII amendments were available for the chemical analysis needed to estimate MII parameters from chemical analysis.

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