Investigation of Nitrate Contamination Sources Under the Conventional and Organic Agricultural Systems Using Nitrogen Isotope Ratios

질소 동위원소비를 이용한 관행농업과 유기농업에서의 질산태 질소 오염원 구명

  • Ko, H.J. (Korea National Open University) ;
  • Choi, H.L. (School of Agricultural Biotechnology, Seoul National University) ;
  • Kim, K.Y. (Preventive Medicine & Public Health, College of Medicine, Ajou University)
  • 고한종 (한국방송통신대학교) ;
  • 최홍림 (서울대학교 농생명공학부) ;
  • 김기연 (아주대학교 예방의학과)
  • Published : 2005.06.30


Nitrate contamination in water system is a critical environmental problem caused by excessive application of chemical fertilizer and concentration of livestock. In order to prevent further contamination, therefore, it is necessary to understand the origin of nitrate in nitrogen loading sources and manage the very source of contamination. The objective of this study was to examine the nitrate contamination sources in different agricultural system by using nitrogen isotope ratios. Groundwater and runoff water samples were collected on a monthly basis from February 2003 to November 2003 and analyzed for nitrogen isotopes. The nitrate concentrations of groundwater in livestock fanning area were higher than those in conventional and organic fanning area and exceeded the national drinking water standard of 10mg N/ l. The ${\delta}^{15}N$ranges of chemical fertilizer and animal manure were - 3.7${\sim}$+2.3$\textperthousand$ and +12.5${\sim}$26.7$\textperthousand$, respectively. The higher ${\delta}^{15}N$ of animal manure than those of chemical fertilizer reflected isotope fractionation and volatilization of '''N. The different agricultural systems and corresponding average nitrate concentrations and ${\delta}^{15}N$ values were: conventional farming, 5.47mg/e, 8.3$\textperthousand$; organic fanning, 5.88mg/e, 10.1$\textperthousand$; crop-livestock farming, 12.5mg/e, 17.7%0. These data indicated that whether conventional or organic agriculture effected groundwater and runoff water quality. In conclusions, relationship between nitrate concentrations and ${\delta}^{15}N$ value could be used to make a distinction between nitrate derived from chemical fertilizer and from animal manure. Additional investigation is required to monitor long-term impact on water quality in accordance with agricultural systems.


Nitrate;$\delta$ $^{15}N$;Groundwater;Chemical fertilizer;Animal manure;Water quality


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