Inhibition profile of three biological nitrification inhibitors and their response to soil pH modification in two contrasting soils

Paula A Rojas-Pinzon, Judith Prommer, Christopher J Sedlacek, Taru Sandén, Heide Spiegel, Petra Pjevac, Lucia Fuchslueger, Andrew T Giguere (Corresponding author)

Publications: Contribution to journalArticlePeer Reviewed


Up to 70% of the nitrogen (N) fertilizer applied to agricultural soils is lost through microbially mediated processes, such as nitrification. This can be counteracted by synthetic and biological compounds that inhibit nitrification. However, for many biological nitrification inhibitors (BNIs), the interaction with soil properties, nitrifier specificity, and effective concentrations are unclear. Here, we investigated three synthetic nitrification inhibitors (SNIs) (DCD, DMPP, and nitrapyrin) and three BNIs [methyl 3(4-hydroxyphenyl) propionate (MHPP), methyl 3(4-hydroxyphenyl) acrylate (MHPA), and limonene] in two agricultural soils differing in pH and nitrifier communities. The efficacies of SNIs and BNIs were resilient to short-term pH changes in the neutral pH soil, whereas the efficacy of some BNIs increased by neutralizing the alkaline soil. Among the BNIs, MHPA showed the highest inhibition and was, together with MHPP, identified as a putative AOB/comammox-selective inhibitor. Additionally, MHPA and limonene effectively inhibited nitrification at concentrations comparable to those used for DCD. Moreover, we identified the effective concentrations at which 50% and 80% of inhibition is observed (EC50 and EC80) for the BNIs, and similar EC80 values were observed in both soils. Overall, our results show that these BNIs could potentially serve as effective alternatives to SNIs currently used.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberfiae072
Number of pages13
JournalFEMS microbiology ecology
Issue number6
Early online date3 May 2024
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2024

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 106026 Ecosystem research
  • 106058 Soil biology
  • 106022 Microbiology


  • Nitrification
  • Soil Microbiology
  • Soil/chemistry
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Fertilizers
  • Nitrogen/metabolism
  • Limonene/pharmacology
  • Agriculture
  • agricultural soils
  • ammonia oxidation
  • biological nitrification inhibitors
  • EC50
  • pH
  • EC

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