Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Lowe, John W.

Committee Member

Linhoss, John E.

Committee Member

Evans, Jeffrey

Committee Member

Purswell, Joseph L.

Committee Member

Chesser, Gary D.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access



Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering


The decrease in subtherapeutic antibiotic administration in poultry has increased the need to address production challenges caused by pathogens, such as E. coli. One potential way to improve bird health and reduce bacterial infection is through the addition of litter amendments that absorb moisture. Biochar (BC) has previously been shown to increase water holding capacity in poultry litter, but its effects on E. coli mitigation are unknown. The objectives of this research were to 1) evaluate water activity of poultry litter amended with pine and miscanthus BC, and 2) determine the effects of different BC inclusion rates on litter E. coli populations. The studies found that BC increased water activity when mixed with broiler litter, and pine BC resulted in lower E. coli counts over time than miscanthus BC. An inclusion rate of 30% by weight of pine BC was most effective at reducing E. coli populations in broiler litter.