Agricultural Soils: Ammonia Volatilization

Authored by: Paul G. Saffigna , John R. Freney

Encyclopedia of Environmental Management

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  December  2012

Print ISBN: 9781439829271
eBook ISBN: 9781351235860
Adobe ISBN:


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The exchange of ammonia between soils, plants, waters, and the atmosphere is an important part of the terrestrial nitrogen cycle. The process by which ammonia is lost from the Earth’s surface to the atmosphere is termed volatilization. The primary source of ammonia for loss is the natural microbial decomposition of amino acids and proteins in dead plants, animals and microorganisms in soils and waters, but substantial amounts come from the excreta of animals and the use of nitrogen fertilizers. Volatilization is a complex process affected by a combination of biological, chemical, and physical factors and the loss process may be hindered.

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