University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division of Agriculture


Phosphorus (P) is an important factor in the eutrophication of freshwater, and watershed sources include effluent discharges and the landscape. Poultry litter applied to the landscape can be a potential source of P, which is dependent on rainfall, runoff and dissolution. Chitosan, the deacetylated form of the biopolymer chitin, has been shown to have an effect on reducing water extractable phosphorus (WEP) in poultry litter when applied as a powder. The intent of this study was to measure the effect that poultry litter treatment (PLT), acetic acid and incubation time have on chitosan’s ability to reduce WEP in poultry litter. The results were that (1) the presence of PLT in the litter inhibits chitosan’s ability to reduce WEP; (2) chitosan dissolved in acetic acid (0.005, 0.01, 0.02, and 0.05 g mL-1) does not decrease WEP at any point during a 7 week incubation period; and (3) chitosan in a powder form reaches its full effectiveness after three weeks of incubation. Chitosan could be an effective coamendment to poultry litter with other treatments in order to reduce WEP.