N2O emission from degraded soybean nodules depends on denitrification by Bradyrhizobium japonicum and other microbes in the rhizosphere

Shoko Inaba, Fumio Ikenishi, Manabu Itakura, Masakazu Kikuchi, Shima Eda, Naohiko Chiba, Chie Katsuyama, Yuichi Suwa, Hisayuki Mitsui, Kiwamu Minamisawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


A model system developed to produce N2O emissions from degrading soybean nodules in the laboratory was used to clarify the mechanism of N2O emission from soybean fields. Soybean plants inoculated with nosZ-defective strains of Bradyrhizobium japonicum USDA110 (ΔnosZ, lacking N2O reductase) were grown in aseptic jars. After 30 days, shoot decapitation (D, to promote nodule degradation), soil addition (S, to supply soil microbes), or both (DS) were applied. N2O was emitted only with DS treatment. Thus, both soil microbes and nodule degradation are required for the emission of N2O from the soybean rhizosphere. The N2O flux peaked 15 days after DS treatment. Nitrate addition markedly enhanced N2O emission. A 15N tracer experiment indicated that N2O was derived from N fixed in the nodules. To evaluate the contribution of bradyrhizobia, N2O emission was compared between a nirK mutant (ΔnirKΔnosZ, lacking nitrite reductase) and ΔnosZ. The N2O flux from the ΔnirKΔnosZ rhizosphere was significantly lower than that from ΔnosZ, but was still 40% to 60% of that of ΔnosZ, suggesting that N2O emission is due to both B. japonicum and other soil microorganisms. Only nosZ-competent B. japonicum (nosZ+ strain) could take up N2O. Therefore, during nodule degradation, both B. japonicum and other soil microorganisms release N2O from nodule N via their denitrification processes (N2O source), whereas nosZ-competent B. japonicum exclusively takes up N2O (N2O sink). Net N2O flux from soybean rhizosphere is likely determined by the balance of N2O source and sink.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-476
Number of pages7
JournalMicrobes and environments
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Dec


  • Bradyrhizobium japonicum
  • Denitrification
  • Nitrous oxide
  • NosZ gene
  • Soybean rhizosphere

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Soil Science
  • Plant Science


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