Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Stokes, C. Elizabeth

Committee Member

Linhoss, John

Committee Member

Street, Jason

Committee Member

Hassan, El Barbary

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Sustainable Bioproducts

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Forest Resources


Department of Sustainable Bioproducts


The objectives of this study were to investigate nutrient retention, intI1 prevalence, and compost maturity rates for poultry litter co-composted with 5, 10, and 20% southern yellow pine biochar and with or without 2% wood vinegar (WV). Samples were collected at 0, 57, and 112 days to measure nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (N, P, K) concentrations, microbial counts, pH, moisture content, carbon to nitrogen (C:N) ratio, and intI1 abundance. Composts were aerated once a week and the temperature was also recorded once a week. There was sufficient rainfall so no additional water was added. The results showed that N and P concentrations significantly increased over time in all treatments except 20% biochar and 20% biochar + wood vinegar, while K concentrations significantly decreased. In general, composting with wood vinegar significantly decreased nutrient concentrations; however, all nutrient concentrations were much higher than typical animal manure fertilizers. Increases in biochar level resulted in significantly lower bacteria counts and significantly higher fungi counts. Compost treatments containing wood vinegar had significantly lower bacteria and fungi counts, indicating that southern yellow pine wood vinegar had a biocide effect on microorganisms, and may be not suitable for composting at that application rate. intI1 prevalence was not significantly different among treatments, which may be due to insufficient thermophilic composting. Because thermophilic temperatures were not achieved, the compost was not mature by the end of the study; therefore, compost maturity rates could not be determined.