Anaerobic oxidation of methane in paddy soil: Role of electron acceptors and fertilization in mitigating CH4 fluxes

The anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) in marine ecosystems is ubiquitous and largely coupled to sulfate reduction. In contrast, the role of AOM in terrestrial environments and the dominant electron acceptors driving terrestrial AOM needs deeper understanding. Submerged rice paddies with intensive CH4 production have a high potential for AOM, which can be important for greenhouse gas mitigation strategies. Here, we used 13CH4 to quantify the AOM rates in paddy soils under organic (Pig manure, Biochar) and mineral (NPK) fertilization. Alternative-to-oxygen electron acceptors for CH4 oxidation, including Fe3+, NO3 −, SO4 2−, and humic acids, were examined and their potential for CH4 mitigation from rice paddies was assessed by 13CH4 oxidation to 13CO2 under anoxic conditions. During 84 days of anaerobic incubation, the cumulative AOM (13CH4-derived CO2) reached 0.15–1.3 μg C g-1 dry soil depending on fertilization. NO3- was the most effective electron acceptor, yielding an AOM rate of 0.80 ng C g-1 dry soil h-1 under Pig manure. The role of Fe3+ in AOM remained unclear, whereas SO42- inhibited AOM but strongly stimulated the production of unlabeled CO2, indicating intensive sulfate-induced decomposition of organic matter. Humic acids were the second most effective electron acceptor for AOM, but increased methanogenesis by 5–6 times in all fertilization treatments. We demonstrated for the first time that organic electron acceptors (humic acids) are among the key AOM drivers and are crucial in paddy soils. The most pronounced AOM in paddy soils occurred under Pig manure, followed by Control and NPK, while AOM was the lowest under Biochar. We estimate that nitrate (nitrite)-dependent AOM in paddy fields globally consumes ~3.9 Tg C–CH4 yr-1, thereby offsetting the global CH4 emissions by ~10–20%. Thus, from a broader agroecological perspective, the organic and mineral fertilizers control an important CH4 sink under anaerobic conditions in submerged ecosystems. Appropriate adjustments of soil fertilization management strategies would therefore help to decrease the net CH4 flux to the atmosphere and hence the global warming. © 2019 Elsevier Ltd

Fan L.1 , Dippold M.A.2 , Ge T.3 , Wu J.3 , Thiel V.4 , Kuzyakov Y. 1, 5, 6 , Dorodnikov M.1
Elsevier Ltd
  • 1 Department of Soil Science of Temperate Ecosystems, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, 37077, Germany
  • 2 Department of Biogeochemistry of Agroecosystems, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, 37077, Germany
  • 3 Key Laboratory of Agro-ecological Processes in Subtropical Region & Changsha Research Station for Agricultural and Environmental Monitoring, Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, Chinese Academy of SciencesHunan 410125, China
  • 4 Geobiology, Geoscience Center, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, 37077, Germany
  • 5 Department of Agricultural Soil Science, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, 37077, Germany
  • 6 Agro-Technological Institute, RUDN University, Moscow, 117198, Russian Federation
Anaerobic oxidation of methane; CH4 mitigation; Electron acceptors; Fertilization; Humic acids; Paddy soil
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