Current research programme
The current focus of the NZAGRC’s nitrous oxide (N2O) research programme is on measuring the effects pasture plants and pasture plant communities have on nitrous oxide emissions.
This work is closely aligned to the MBIE P21 and Forages for Nitrate Leaching programmes (FRNL). In addition, an investigative project on a technology to locate and treat urine patches was completed in 2015/16.
Learn more about:
Dr Cecile de Klein, AgResearch
Professor Hong Di, Lincoln University
Potential for forage diet manipulation in New Zealand pasture ecosystems to mitigate ruminant urine derived N2O emissions: a review
Gardiner, C. A., T. J. Clough, et al. (2016). "Potential for forage diet manipulation in New Zealand pasture ecosystems to mitigate ruminant urine derived N2O emissions: a review." New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research 59(3): 301-317.
Nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from agricultural soils account for more than 10% of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions. Livestock urine deposition drives N2O losses from these soils. It has been speculated that non-urea nitrogen compounds (UNCs) in ruminant urine could reduce or inhibit urine patch N2O emissions. However, we hypothesise that UNCs will have no effect on N2O emissions due to their potentially rapid degradation by plants and soil microbes. Our review suggests that plant secondary metabolites (PSMs) are more likely to perform a role in reducing N2O emissions since many PSMs have known antimicrobial properties. Aucubin, found in Plantago, and isothiocyanates, found in Brassica, have been shown to inhibit a key step in N2O production. Future studies should explore this promising research gap by evaluating forages for potential inhibitory PSMs, assessing whether PSMs are excreted in urine after consumption, and determine whether excretal PSM concentrations are sufficient to reduce N2O emissions.
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