745 research outputs found

    Towards a global interpretation of dual nitrate isotopes in surface waters

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    Modern anthropogenic activities have significantly increased nitrate (NO3-) concentrations in surface waters. Stable isotopes (delta N-15 and delta O-18) in NO3- offer a tool to deconvolute some of the human-made changes in the nitrogen cycle. They are often graphically illustrated on a template designed to identify different sources of NO3- and denitrification. In the two decades since this template was developed, delta N-1(5)- and delta O-1(8)-NO3- have been measured in a variety of ecosystems and through the nitrogen cycle. However, its interpretation is often fuzzy or complex. This default is no longer helpful because it does not describe surface water ecosystems well and biases researchers towards denitrification as the NO3- removal pathway, even in well oxygenated systems where denitrification is likely to have little to no influence on the nitrogen cycle. We propose a different scheme to encourage a better understanding of the nitrogen cycle and interpretation of NO3- isotopes. We use a mechanistic understanding of NO3- formation to place bounds on the oxygen isotope axis and provide a means to adjust for different environmental water isotope values, so data from multiple sites and times of year can be appropriately compared. We demonstrate that any interpretation of our example datasets (Canada, Kenya, United Kingdom) show clear evidence of denitrification or a mixture of NO3- sources simply because many data points fall outside of arbitrary boxes which cannot be supported once the range of potential delta O-1(8)-NO(3)(- )values has been considered.Modern anthropogenic activities have significantly increased nitrate (NO3-) concentrations in surface waters. Stable isotopes (delta N-15 and delta O-18) in NO3- offer a tool to deconvolute some of the human-made changes in the nitrogen cycle. They are often graphically illustrated on a template designed to identify different sources of NO3- and denitrification. In the two decades since this template was developed, delta N-1(5)- and delta O-1(8)-NO3- have been measured in a variety of ecosystems and through the nitrogen cycle. However, its interpretation is often fuzzy or complex. This default is no longer helpful because it does not describe surface water ecosystems well and biases researchers towards denitrification as the NO3- removal pathway, even in well oxygenated systems where denitrification is likely to have little to no influence on the nitrogen cycle. We propose a different scheme to encourage a better understanding of the nitrogen cycle and interpretation of NO3- isotopes. We use a mechanistic understanding of NO3- formation to place bounds on the oxygen isotope axis and provide a means to adjust for different environmental water isotope values, so data from multiple sites and times of year can be appropriately compared. We demonstrate that any interpretation of our example datasets (Canada, Kenya, United Kingdom) show clear evidence of denitrification or a mixture of NO3- sources simply because many data points fall outside of arbitrary boxes which cannot be supported once the range of potential delta O-1(8)-NO(3)(- )values has been considered.A

    Nitrate sources and dynamics in a salinized river and estuary : a δ15N-NO₃⁻ and δ18O-NO₃⁻ isotope approach

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    To trace NO3- sources and assess NO3- dynamics in salinized rivers and estuaries, three rivers (Haihe River: HH River, Chaobaixin River: CB River and Jiyun River: JY River) and two estuaries (HH Estuary and CJ Estuary) along the Bohai Bay (China) have been selected to determine dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN: NH4+, NO2- and NO3-. Upstream of the HH River, NO3- was removed 30.9 +/- 22.1% by denitrification, resulting from effects of the floodgate: limiting water exchange with downstream and prolonging water residence time to remove NO3-. Downstream of the HH River NO3- was removed 2.5 +/- 13.3% by NO3- turnover processes. Conversely, NO3- was increased 36.6 +/- 25.2% by external N source addition in the CB River and 34.6 +/- 35.1% by instream nitrification in the JY River. The HH and CY Estuaries behaved mostly conservatively excluding the sewage input in the CJ Estuary. Hydrodynamics in estuaries has been changed by the ongoing reclamation projects, aggravating the loss of the attenuation function of NO3- in the estuary

    Tracking sources and fate of groundwater nitrate in Kisumu City and Kano Plains, Kenya

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    Groundwater nitrate (NO3−) pollution sources and in situ attenuation were investigated in Kisumu city and Kano plains. Samples from 62 groundwater wells consisting of shallow wells (hand dug, depth 15 m) were obtained during wet (May–July 2017) and dry (February 2018) seasons and analyzed for physicochemical and isotopic (δ15N-NO3−, δ18O-NO3−, and δ11B) parameters. Groundwater NO3− concentrations ranged from <0.04 to 90.6 mg L−1. Boreholes in Ahero town showed significantly higher NO3− (20.0–70.0 mg L−1) than boreholes in the Kano plains (<10.0 mg L−1). Shallow wells in Kisumu gave significantly higher NO3− (11.4–90.6 mg L−1) than those in the Kano plains (<10.0 mg L−1). About 63% of the boreholes and 75% of the shallow wells exceeded the drinking water WHO threshold for NO3− and NO2− (nitrite) during the study period. Mean δ15N-NO3− values of 14.8‰ ± 7.0‰ and 20.7‰ ± 11.1‰, and δ18O-NO3− values of 10.2‰ ± 5.2‰ and 13.2‰ ± 6.0‰ in wet and dry seasons, respectively, indicated manure and/or sewage as main sources of groundwater NO3−. However, a concurrent enrichment of δ15N and δ18O was observed, especially in the dry season, with a corresponding NO3− decrease, indicating in situ denitrification. In addition, partial nitrification of mostly sewage derived NH4+ appeared to be responsible for increased NO2− concentrations observed in the dry season. Specifically, targeted δ11B data indicated that sewage was the main source of groundwater NO3− pollution in shallow wells within Kisumu informal settlements, boreholes in Ahero, and public institutions in populated neighborhoods of Kano; while manure was the main source of NO3− in boreholes and shallow wells in the Kano and planned estates around Kisumu. Waste-water sanitation systems in the region should be urgently improved to avoid further deterioration of groundwater sources

    Stomatal behavior of cowpea genotypes grown under varying moisture levels

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    Drought is a major limitation to crop productivity worldwide. Plants lose most of their water through stomata, thus making stomata an important organ in the control of transpiration and photosynthesis. This study assessed the stomatal behavior of four cowpea genotypes grown under four moisture levels under hot semi-arid conditions. Stomatal conductance (gs) was measured at 47, 54, 70 and 77 days after planting (DAP). Biomass and carbon isotope composition (C-13) were also determined at flowering. Genotype and moisture level significantly influenced gs. Genotypes varied in gs at vegetative stages (47 and 54 DAP) only. TVu4607 had higher gs under severe drought conditions at both 47 and 54 DAP. On the other hand, moisture level influenced gs at 54 and 70 DAP only. Stomatal conductance was severely restricted in cowpea under both moderate and severe drought conditions as gs was mostly below the threshold 0.10 mol m(-2) s(-1). Relationships between: biomass and gs, and C-13 and gs were positive under severe drought only. The findings revealed that cowpea genotypes vary in gs under dry conditions and that the variation is more prominent at vegetative stage, suggesting that cowpea productivity in dry areas could be improved through selection of genotypes that maintain higher gs under dry conditions

    An archaeological mystery revealed by radiocarbon dating of cross-flow nanofiltrated amino acids derived from bone collagen, silk, and hair: case study of the bishops Baldwin I and Radbot II from Noyon-Tournai

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    Excavations in the cathedral of Tournai revealed two sepultures, which were identified by the excavators as those of bishops because of their special location in the cathedral. One burial was assigned to Baldwin I, who died in AD 1068, because (1) a ring with the inscription "BAL" was found and (2) a funeral stone with text was present on top of the grave mentioning the name Baldewinus. The second burial probably belongs to Radbot II, who was the successor of Baldwin I, and died in AD 1098. Both burials contained textiles (silk), the skeleton, a wooden pastoral staff, and human hair was still present on the skull of what was presumed to be Radbot II. All the protein-containing materials were degraded and/or contaminated. Standard sample pretreatment methods were not able to remove all the contaminants. Single and double cross-flow nanofiltration of the hydrolyzed protein-containing materials were performed. The sample quality for radiocarbon dating was improved and C-14 data revealed interesting and surprising results. The C-14 dates of the wooden pastoral staff and permeate femur confirm that the skeleton and tomb belong to bishop Baldwin I. The C-14 dates of hair and permeate skull indicate that the skeleton may indeed belong to bishop Radbot II. The younger C-14 dates of the wooden pastoral staff and silk samples indicate a postburial disturbance of the site burial during the 12th-13th century

    The electron donating capacity of biochar is dramatically underestimated

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    Biochars have gathered considerable interest for agronomic and engineering applications. In addition to their high sorption ability, biochars have been shown to accept or donate considerable amounts of electrons to/from their environment via abiotic or microbial processes. Here, we measured the electron accepting (EAC) and electron donating (EDC) capacities of wood-based biochars pyrolyzed at three different highest treatment temperatures (HTTs: 400, 500, 600 °C) via hydrodynamic electrochemical techniques using a rotating disc electrode. EACs and EDCs varied with HTT in accordance with a previous report with a maximal EAC at 500 °C (0.4 mmol(e−).gchar−1) and a large decrease of EDC with HTT. However, while we monitored similar EAC values than in the preceding study, we show that the EDCs have been underestimated by at least 1 order of magnitude, up to 7 mmol(e−).gchar−1 for a HTT of 400 °C. We attribute this existing underestimation to unnoticed slow kinetics of electron transfer from biochars to the dissolved redox mediators used in the monitoring. The EDC of other soil organic constituents such as humic substances may also have been underestimated. These results imply that the redox properties of biochars may have a much bigger impact on soil biogeochemical processes than previously conjectured

    System for δ13C-CO2 and xCO2 analysis of discrete gas samples by cavity ring-down spectroscopy

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    A method was devised for analysing small discrete gas samples (50 mL syringe) by cavity ring-down spectroscopy (CRDS). Measurements were accomplished by inletting 50 mL syringed samples into an isotopic-CO2 CRDS analyser (Picarro G2131-i) between baseline readings of a reference air standard, which produced sharp peaks in the CRDS data feed. A custom software script was developed to manage the measurement process and aggregate sample data in real time. The method was successfully tested with CO2 mole fractions (xCO2) ranging from    20 000 ppm and δ13C–CO2 values from −100 up to +30 000 ‰ in comparison to VPDB (Vienna Pee Dee Belemnite). Throughput was typically 10 samples h−1, with 13 h−1 possible under ideal conditions. The measurement failure rate in routine use was ca. 1 %. Calibration to correct for memory effects was performed with gravimetric gas standards ranging from 0.05 to 2109 ppm xCO2 and δ13C–CO2 levels varying from −27.3 to +21 740 ‰. Repeatability tests demonstrated that method precision for 50 mL samples was ca. 0.05 % in xCO2 and 0.15 ‰ in δ13C–CO2 for CO2 compositions from 300 to 2000 ppm with natural abundance 13C. Long-term method consistency was tested over a 9-month period, with results showing no systematic measurement drift over time. Standardised analysis of discrete gas samples expands the scope of application for isotopic-CO2 CRDS and enhances its potential for replacing conventional isotope ratio measurement techniques. Our method involves minimal set-up costs and can be readily implemented in Picarro G2131-i and G2201-i analysers or tailored for use with other CRDS instruments and trace gases
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