The carbon and nitrogen cycle collide in switchgrass soils

Bloodworth K and West W.
Eastern University, St. Davids, Pennsylvania, USA; Michigan State University, Kellogg Biological Station, Hickory Corners, Michigan, USA

Presented at the All Scientist Meeting and Investigators Field Tour (2016-09-16 to 2016-09-17 )

The burning of fossil fuels emit greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, which contributes to global climate change. In addition, fossil fuels are non renewable sources and are not sustainable. Consequently, biofuel crops are currently being assessed as a potential alternative sustainable energy source. Switchgrass
(Panicum virginiatum) is an ideal candidate as a sustainable biofuel crop because it is a perennial crop, which thrives in marginal land soil and acts as a potential
carbon sink. Although, substantial research has been done on maximizing switchgrass yields and its viability as a biofuel crop, little is known about the influence of
switchgrass exudates on the soil microbially mediated processes. In particular, there is limited evidence linking carbon quantity and quality to denitrification and
the ratio of nitrous oxide (N2O) to nitrogen gas (N2) emissions from the microbial community. N2O, a product of denitrification, has the global warming potential of
310 times that of carbon dioxide (CO2) and 16 times that of methane (CH4) over a 100-year period. The interactions between the carbon and nitrogen cycle have not been well connected in ecology. Therefore, it is crucial to understand more about the influence of switchgrass exudates (organic carbon) on microbially mediated denitrification rates. This research allows us to begin to budget for the influence of switchgrass exudates on soil N2O production

Get poster
Back to meeting | Show |
Sign In