Determining the influence of environmental and edaphic factors on the fate of the nitrification inhibitors DCD and DMPP in soil

Guillermo Guardia, Karina A. Marsden, Antonio Vallejo, Davey L. Jones, David R. Chadwick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


Nitrification inhibitors (NIs) such as dicyandiamide (DCD) and 3,4-dimethylpyrazole phosphate (DMPP) provide an opportunity to reduce losses of reactive nitrogen (Nr) from agricultural ecosystems. To understand the fate and efficacy of these two inhibitors, laboratory-scale experiments were conducted with 14C-labelled DCD and DMPP to determine the relative rates of mineralization, recovery in soil extracts and sorption in two agricultural soils with contrasting pH and organic matter content. Concurrently, the net production of soil ammonium and nitrate in soil were determined. Two months after NI addition to soil, significantly greater mineralization of 14C-DMPP (15.3%) was observed, relative to that of 14C-DCD (10.7%), and the mineralization of both NIs increased with temperature, regardless of NI and soil type. However, the mineralization of NIs did not appear to have a major influence on their inhibitory effect (as shown by the low mineralization rates and the divergent average half-lives for mineralization and nitrification, which were 454 and 37 days, respectively). The nitrification inhibition efficacy of DMPP was more dependent on soil type than that of DCD, although the efficacy of both inhibitors was lower in the more alkaline, low-organic matter soil. Although a greater proportion of DMPP becomes unavailable, possibly due to physico-chemical sorption to soil or microbial immobilization, our results demonstrate the potential of DMPP to achieve higher inhibition rates than DCD in grassland soils. Greater consideration of the interactions between NI type, soil and temperature is required to provide robust and cost-effective advice to farmers on NI use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1202-1212
Number of pages11
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2018
Externally publishedYes


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