Titration and Spectroscopic Measurements of Poultry Litter pH Buffering Capacity. Academic Article uri icon


  • The pH value of poultry litter is affected by nitrification, mineralization, and the addition of acidifying chemicals, all acting on the poultry litter pH buffering capacity (pHBC). Increased understanding of poultry litter pHBC will aid in modeling NH volatilization from surface-applied poultry litter as well as estimating rates of alum applications. Our objectives were to (i) determine the pHBC of a wide range of poultry litters; (ii) assess the accuracy of near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) for determining poultry litter pHBC; and (iii) demonstrate the use of poultry litter pHBC to increase the accuracy of alum additions. Litter pHBC was determined by titration and calculated from linear and sigmoidal curves. For the 37 litters measured, linear pHBC ranged from 187 to 537 mmol (pH unit) kg dry litter. The linear and sigmoidal curves provided accurate predictions of pHBC, with most > 0.90. Results from NIRS analysis showed that the linear pHBC expressed on an "as is" water content basis had a NIRS coefficient of calibration (developed using a modified partial least squares procedure) of 0.90 for the 37 poultry litters measured. Using the litter pHBC, an empirical model was derived to determine the amount of alum needed to create a target pH. The model performed well in the range of pH 6.5 to 7.5 (RMSE = 0.07) but underpredicted the amount of alum needed to reach pH <6. The lack of model performance at pH <6 was probably due to Al reacting with organic matter in the poultry litter, which prevented its hydrolysis.

published proceedings

  • J Environ Qual

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Cassity-Duffey, K., Cabrera, M., Mowrer, J., & Kissel, D.

citation count

  • 8

complete list of authors

  • Cassity-Duffey, Kate||Cabrera, Miguel||Mowrer, Jake||Kissel, David

publication date

  • July 2015