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A simple biomonitor for measuring ammonia deposition in rural areas

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Knowledge of the contribution of NH3 to the total deposition of N in rural areas is sparse, because the determination of NH3 deposition is costly and labour-intensive. A simple biomonitor consisting of barley plants grown in pots with an inert growth medium is therefore proposed for estimating total N deposition, including NH3. The rise in total N of the plant-soil system reflects the deposition. The biomonitor was tested near a dairy farm. Different N contents in the green biomass reflected differences in deposition, and the deposition correlated very well with NH3 levels in the area and in two background stations. The biomonitors were placed above the crop, the measurements thus representing total N at the edge of a plant community. In 1 month the deposition in the NH3 plume was 8 kg N ha−1.

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Sommer, S.G. A simple biomonitor for measuring ammonia deposition in rural areas. Biol Fert Soils 6, 61–64 (1988).

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Key words

  • Ammonia emission
  • Ammonia absorption
  • Nitrogen cycle