Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi reduce nitrous oxide emissions from N2O hotspots.

Kate Elizabeth Storer, Aisha Coggan, Philip Ineson, Angela Hodge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nitrous oxide (N 2O) is a potent, globally important, greenhouse gas, predominantly released from agricultural soils during nitrogen (N) cycling. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) form a mutualistic symbiosis with two-thirds of land plants, providing phosphorus and/or N in exchange for carbon. As AMF acquire N, it was hypothesized that AMF hyphae may reduce N 2O production. AMF hyphae were either allowed (AMF) or prevented (nonAMF) access to a compartment containing an organic matter and soil patch in two independent microcosm experiments. Compartment and patch N 2O production was measured both before and after addition of ammonium and nitrate. In both experiments, N 2O production decreased when AMF hyphae were present before inorganic N addition. In the presence of AMF hyphae, N 2O production remained low following ammonium application, but increased in the nonAMF controls. By contrast, negligible N 2O was produced following nitrate application to either AMF treatment. Thus, the main N 2O source in this system appeared to be via nitrification, and the production of N 2O was reduced in the presence of AMF hyphae. It is hypothesized that AMF hyphae may be outcompeting slow-growing nitrifiers for ammonium. This has significant global implications for our understanding of soil N cycling pathways and N 2O production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1285-1295
Number of pages11
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number4
Early online date5 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2018

Bibliographical note

© 2017 The Authors. This article has just been accepted (today) by the editor. As the figs were drawn originally by biology graphics (and graphics have relocated centrally) it has been necessary to 'build' a PDF of the entire MS as we do not have the original figs in anything but PDF form. Hope this is acceptable - if not the MS would have to be uploaded without the figs.
It appears we can added either a pre-print or post-print IF the post-print has an embago of 12 months - we prefer the latter so please give this an embago. The reason being there were a number of changes (including to the title) AFTER referring so it makes much more sense for the post-referring (but before acceptance/publication) MS to be added to pure. This is why I have marked as 'confidential' at the foot of this input as can't seem to locate an 'embargo' option - will wait for further instruction.


  • agriculture, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), greenhouse gas, hyphosphere, N cycle, nitrification, nitrogen (N), nitrous oxide (N2O)
  • agriculture
  • nitrogen (N)
  • hyphosphere
  • nitrification
  • nitrous oxide (N O)
  • N cycle
  • arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF)
  • greenhouse gas

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