This innovative method was developed at IMK-IFU and allows for the first time direct gas chromatographic determination of N2losses from soils deriving from denitrification without any use of the nitrous oxide reductase inhibitor acetylene or 15N-substrate applications.
The technique is applicable both for intact soil cores as well as mixed soil samples. The method requires exchange of the soil atmosphere with an artificial atmosphere, that differs only in that N2 is substituded by He. In addition to N2 detection via PDHID (Pulsed Discharge Helium Ionization Detector), N2O from denitrification is detected simultaneously via a 63Ni electron capture detector (ECD). Thus, the N2:N2O emission ratio due to denitrification can be determined for the first time in one measuring step.