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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 24 No. 5, p. 952-959
     
    Received: Sept 27, 1994
    Published: Sept, 1995


    * Corresponding author(s): gbad6103@agv1.qub.ac.uk
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doi:10.2134/jeq1995.00472425002400050025x

Occurrence of Nitrite in the Lough Neagh River System

  1. R. V. Smith *,
  2. R. H. Foy,
  3. S. D. Lennox,
  4. C. Jordan,
  5. L. C. Burns,
  6. J. E. Cooper and
  7. R. J. Stevens
  1. Agric. and Environ. Science Div., Dep. of Agric. for Northern Ireland, Newforge Lane, Belfast BT9 5PX, Northern Ireland;
    Biometrics Div., Dep. of Agric. for Northern Ireland, Newforge Lane, Belfast BT9 5PX, Northern Ireland;
    Applied Plant Science Div., Dep. of Agric. for Northern Ireland, Newforge Lane, Belfast BT9 5PX, Northern Ireland;
    Dep. of Agric. and Environ. Science, The Queen's Univ. of Belfast, Newforge Lane, Belfast BT9 5PX, Northern Ireland.

Abstract

Abstract

The Lough Neagh catchment area covers about one-third of the land area of Northern Ireland. This report documents NO2 concentrations in the major rivers entering Lough Neagh, which are frequently in the range of 100 to 150 μg N L−1 and exceed the European Community (EC) water quality guide values. The contribution of land drainage to NO2 loads carried by these rivers was estimated to be about 40%. The remaining 60% of NO2 appears to originate from N transformations at the sediment-water interface of the river system. The available evidence suggests that NH+4 originating from agricultural pollution provides the N substrate for nitrification by Nitrosomonas to NO2. What is anomalous is why this NO2 is not further oxidized rapidly to NO3 by Nitrobacter. A possible mechanism is that the Nitrobacter is retarded by the presence of free ammonia concentrations that can be predicted to be present in the range of 65 to 76 μg N L−1.

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