Monday, February 2, 2015

Nitrous oxide 300 times global warming - No Whip-Its !

Natural Sciences Field Research

Generate data in the field and analyze it on the spot to fast track critical environmental research. With real-time results, you will be able to identify trends faster and pursue new research questions as they emerge, without returning to the lab.
Wherever you go—from Antarctica to the Andes to the Sahara—Picarro’s rugged and compact systems measure concentration and isotope ratios for the most important molecules, with up to parts per billion resolution. You can use gas, liquid or solid samples; our handling accessories will make them work.

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a potent greenhouse gas (GHG) with approximately 300 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.  Therefore, understanding the sources and sinks of N2O is important for balancing the global carbon and nitrogen cycle. In addition to the flux of N2O from agricultural soils, wastewater treatment plants are recognized as a significant source of N2O emissions. 

Recently, Lai Peng and colleagues in Australia published their research work on the effect of dissolved oxygen on N2O production by ammonia-oxidizing bacteria.  They found that N2O production increased with increasing dissolved oxygen content.  In addition, they used a Picarro G5101-i to identify the key pathways for N2O production.  By comparing the site-preference for a heavy stable isotope of nitrogen (15N) in N2O produced by different chemical pathways relevant to wastewater treatment, they were able to determine the relative contribution of those pathways to total N2O production.  Site preference studies are possible using Picarro's core technology, Cavity Ring-Down Spectroscopy, because each molecule, and isotope combination, has a unique optical absorption spectrum. 

I hope you enjoy reading about this novel application of Picarro's technology and how measuring N2O concentration and isotopes enables scientists and policy makers learn more about the global carbon and nitrogen cycle. 

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