Soil microbial sources of nitrous oxide: recent advances in knowledge, emerging challenges and future direction

Elizabeth M. Baggs

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

203 Citations (Scopus)


The greenhouse gas nitrous oxide can be produced in soil during several microbial processes. Understanding of the regulation of these processes and the conditions under which they are likely to prevail have advanced in the last couple of decades. This is important for the development of targeted mitigation strategies. Here the focus is placed on the most recent advances in understanding associated with nitrous oxide production during ammonia oxidation, and the nitrate reducing processes of nitrate ammonification (or dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium) and denitrification, including nitrifier denitrification in temperate soils. Some of the possibilities these offer for management to lower net emissions are outlined, and consideration is given to the current challenges and future directions required for these possibilities to be realised. These highlight the need for a multidisciplinary approach to understand the regulation of N2O production and reduction, synthesising relationships across a range systems, and increasing our predictive capability of interactions within the atmosphere-plant-microbe-soil continuum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-327
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Environmental Sustainability
Issue number5
Early online date8 Sep 2011
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


  • dissimilatory nitrate reduction
  • Chilean nothofagus forest
  • nitrifier denitrification
  • cytochrome P450NOR
  • oxygen-exchange
  • tropical forest
  • grassland soil
  • N2O
  • nitrification
  • emissions


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