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A field experimental study on non-methane hydrocarbon (NMHC) emissions from a straw-returned maize cropping system

Zhang, Shuangqi, Deng, Mengsi, Shan, Ming, Zhou, Chuang, Liu, Wei, Xu, Xiaoqiu, Yang, Xudong
The Science of the total environment 2018 v.636 pp. 530-538
agricultural land, agroecosystems, corn, corn straw, cropping systems, emissions, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, pH, soil temperature, soil water, spectrometers, toluene
Non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHCs) play an important role in the atmospheric environment. However, NMHC emissions from agricultural fields, especially their variations with straw return, are poorly understood. Therefore, a field study comprising two treatments, i.e., (1) S0 (straw removal) and (2) S1 (incorporation of maize straw at a rate of 9000 kg ha−1), was conducted in a straw-returned maize cropping system to characterize NMHC emissions as well as to estimate the effect of straw return on those emissions. Using a Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometer (GC–MS) method, 28 types of NMHCs were identified. The total NMHC emission from S0 was 2018 g ha−1, where 1-methyl-3-propyl-benzene, (1-methylethyl)-benzene, and toluene were obviously predominant, whereas the total NMHC emission from S1 was 1903 g ha−1, where 1-methyl-3-propyl-benzene, 2-methyl-pentane, and (1-methylethyl)-benzene were the main species. The results showed that straw return had opposing effects on NMHC emissions, ranging from −55.4% to 478.6%. Overall, the total NMHC emission with returned straw alone decreased by 2963 ng kg straw−1 h−1. Furthermore, NMHC fluxes had higher correlations with soil temperature than with soil moisture or pH. Notably, the higher correlations of NMHC fluxes with 10 cm soil temperature than with 5 cm soil temperature indicate that soil in the deeper layer might play a more important role in NMHC fluxes. The results also suggest that more field study is needed to accurately estimate the effect of straw return on NMHC emissions from agroecosystems and fully understand its underlying mechanism.