Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.10.086
Title (Primary) Isotopic composition of nitrogen species in groundwater under agricultural areas: A review
Author Nikolenko, O.; Jurado, A.; Borges, A.V.; Knöller, K.; Brouyѐre, S.
Journal Science of the Total Environment
Year 2018
Department CATHYD
Volume 621
Page From 1415
Page To 1432
Language englisch
Keywords Agriculture; Groundwater pollution; Stable isotope analysis; N isotopes; N anthropogenic sources; N cycle processes
UFZ wide themes RU2;

This work reviews applications of stable isotope analysis to the studies of transport and transformation of N species in groundwater under agricultural areas. It summarizes evidence regarding factors affecting the isotopic composition of NO3, NH4+ and N2O in subsurface, and discusses the use of 11B, 18O, 13C, 34S, 87Sr/86Sr isotopes to support the analysis of δ15N values. The isotopic composition of NO3, NH4+ and N2O varies depending on their sources and dynamics of N cycle processes. The reported δ15N-NO3 values for sources of NO3 are: soil organic N – + 3‰–+8‰, mineral fertilizers – − 8‰–+7‰; manure/household waste – + 5‰ to + 35‰. For NH4+ sources, the isotopic signature ranges are: organic matter – + 2.4–+4.1‰, rainwater – − 13.4–+2.3‰, mineral fertilizers – − 7.4–+5.1‰, household waste – + 5–+9‰; animal manure – + 8–+11‰. For N2O, isotopic composition depends on isotopic signatures of substrate pools and reaction rates. δ15N values of NO3 are influenced by fractionation effects occurring during denitrification (ɛ = 5–40‰), nitrification (ɛ = 5–35‰) and DNRA (ɛ not reported). The isotopic signature of NH4+ is also affected by nitrification and DNRA as well as mineralization (ɛ = 1‰), sorption (ɛ = 1–8‰), anammox (ɛ = 4.3–7.4‰) and volatilization (ɛ = 25‰). As for the N2O, production of N2O leads to its depletion in 15N, whereas consumption – to enrichment in 15N. The magnitude of fractionation effects occurring during the considered processes depends on temperature, pH, DO, C/NO3 ratio, size of the substrate pool, availability of electron donors, water content in subsoil, residence time, land use, hydrogeology. While previous studies have accumulated rich data on isotopic composition of NO3 in groundwater, evidence remains scarce in the cases of NH4+ and N2O. Further research is required to consider variability of δ15N-NH4+ and δ15N-N2O in groundwater across agricultural ecosystems.

Persistent UFZ Identifier
Nikolenko, O., Jurado, A., Borges, A.V., Knöller, K., Brouyѐre, S. (2018):
Isotopic composition of nitrogen species in groundwater under agricultural areas: A review
Sci. Total Environ. 621 , 1415 - 1432