Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Stuart Burris (Director), Dr. Kevin Williams, Dr. Darwin Dahl

Degree Program

Department of Chemistry

Degree Type

Master of Science


Conserving the environment is an issue that is gaining popularity day by day. Phosphorus transfer from agricultural soils is an important environmental issue that is being closely observed as the transport of phosphorous to water bodies is adversely affecting water quality due to accelerated eutrophication. It is important to establish phosphorous models that accurately account for soil test phosphorous. Standard models like SWAT (Soil and Water Assessment Tool) and EPIC (Environmental Policy Integrated Climate) were designed for serving this purpose. They are now used as the basis for developing new models that can more accurately account for the phosphorus transport, depending on local soil conditions and external factors like climate, addition of biochar or other soil amendments. Our research involved development of new methods from published data that are applied to different soils from Kentucky that are incubated for various time periods, with and without the addition of biochar amendments. Changes in the soil labile phosphorus content after phosphorus addition to and depletion from these incubated soils was measured to discern the effect of biochar on the rates of phosphorus transport. The measured labile phosphorus was further analyzed using statistical analysis software drawing comparisons among treatments without biochar, with low temperature biochar and high temperature biochar for specific soil-biochar combinations. Loamy sand soils with both pine chips and switch grass biochar types have shown slightly increased leeching of phosphorus upon addition of biochar whereas clay loam soils have not shown any significant change upon addition of biochar.


Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment | Environmental Sciences | Organic Chemistry | Soil Science