Nitrous Oxide Emissions from Paddies: Understanding the Role of Rice Plants

Plants (Basel). 2020 Feb 2;9(2):180. doi: 10.3390/plants9020180.


: Paddies are a potential source of anthropogenic nitrous oxide (N2O) emission. In paddies, both the soil and the rice plants emit N2O into the atmosphere. The rice plant in the paddy is considered to act as a channel between the soil and the atmosphere for N2O emission. However, recent studies suggest that plants can also produce N2O, while the mechanism of N2O formation in plants is unknown. Consequently, the rice plant is only regarded as a channel for N2O produced by soil microorganisms. The emission of N2O by aseptically grown plants and the distinct dual isotopocule fingerprint of plant-emitted N2O, as reported by various studies, support the production of N2O in plants. Herein, we propose a potential pathway of N2O formation in the rice plant. In rice plants, N2O might be formed in the mitochondria via the nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide (NO3-NO2-NO) pathway when the cells experience hypoxic or anoxic stress. The pathway is catalyzed by various enzymes, which have been described. So, N2O emitted from paddies might have two origins, namely soil microorganisms and rice plants. So, regarding rice plants only as a medium to transport the microorganism-produced N2O might be misleading in understanding the role of rice plants in the paddy. As rice cultivation is a major agricultural activity worldwide, not understanding the pathway of N2O formation in rice plants would create more uncertainties in the N2O budget.

Keywords: anoxia; hypoxia; mitochondria; nitric oxide; nitrous oxide; paddy; potential pathway; rice plant.

Publication types

  • Review