Nitrogen oxide fluxes between corn (Zea mays L.) leaves and the atmosphere

Daniel P. Hereid, Russell K. Monson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


In the United States, fertilized corn fields, which make up approximately 5% of the total land area, account for approximately 45% of total soil NO(x) emissions. Leaf chamber measurements were conducted of NO and NO2 fluxes between individual corn leaves and the atmosphere in (1) field-grown plants near Champaign, IL (USA) in order to assess the potential role of corn canopies in mitigating soil-NO(x) emissions to the atmosphere, and (2) greenhouse-grown plants in order to study the influence of various environmental variables and physiological factors on the dynamics of NO2 flux. In field-grown plants, fluxes of NO were small and inconsistent from plant to plant. At ambient NO concentrations between 0.1 and 0.3 ppbv, average fluxes were zero. At ambient NO concentrations above 1 ppbv, NO uptake occurred, but fluxes were so small (14.3 ± 0.0 pmol m-2 s-1) as to be insignificant in the NO(x) inventory for this site. In field-grown plants, NO2 was emitted to the atmosphere at ambient NO2 concentrations below 0.9 ppbv (the NO2 compensation point), with the highest rate of emission being 50 pmol m-2 s-1 at 0.2 ppbv. NO2 was assimilated by corn leaves at ambient NO2 concentrations above 0.9 ppbv, with the maximum observed uptake rate being 643 pmol m-2 s-1 at 6 ppbv. When fluxes above 0.9 ppbv are standardized for ambient NO2 concentration, the resultant deposition velocity was 1.2 ± 0.1 mm s-1. When scaled to the entire corn canopy, NO2 uptake rates can be estimated to be as much as 27% of the soil-emitted NO(x). In greenhouse-grown and field-grown leaves, NO2 deposition velocity was dependent on incident photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD; 400-700 nm), whether measured above or below the NO2 compensation point. The shape of the PPFD dependence, and its response to ambient humidity in an experiment with greenhouse-grown plants, led to the conclusion that stomatal conductance is a primary determinant of the PPFD response. However, in field-grown leaves, measured NO2 deposition velocities were always lower than those predicted by a model solely dependent on stomatal conductance. It is concluded that NO2 uptake rate is highest when N availability is highest, not when the leaf deficit for N is highest. It is also concluded that the primary limitations to leaf-level NO2 uptake concern both stomatal and mesophyll components. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)975-983
Number of pages9
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001


  • Corn plants
  • Dry deposition
  • Flux
  • Nitrogen oxides
  • Stomatal uptake

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science


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