The Parikh Environmental Soil Chemistry Lab at UC Davis investigates how interactions between minerals, organic matter, microbes, plants, and contaminants / nutrients in natural environments influence biogeochemical cycles, environmental quality, food safety, and human health. Examples of key research areas/interests are:

  • Examining transport and degradation mechanisms for pharmaceuticals, hormones, and personal care products in soil and water (i.e., ground, surface, wastewater);

  • Studying metal(loid) and nanoparticle fate in soil, water, and plants to ensure food safety, enhance phytoremediation, and minimize contaminant transport and bioavailability;

  • Developing novel methodologies for soil and water remediation (organic contaminants, metal(loid)s, nutrients;

  • Evaluating the potential of biochar soil amendments to impact soil fertility, nutrient retention, greenhouse gas emissions, dust generation, and contaminant transport;

  • Examining the potential for recycling of wastewater and waste materials (e.g., biosolids, manure, biochar) in agriculture to maximize benefits and minimize risk;

  • Elucidating the role of bacterial surface biomolecules in cell adhesion and biomineralization/dissolution reactions; and

  • Studying environmental processes which influence nutrient cycling, fate, and bioavailability. 

Ongoing Projects

  • Remediation of hydrocarbon contaminated soils with biochar

  • Determination of arsenic speciation in rice and environmental samples
  • Soil carbon management for ecological services and drought resilience
  • Examining mechanisms of transport and bioaccumulation of engineered nanoparticles into food crops

  • Remediation of soil and water contaminated with arsenic, cadmium, and lead
  • Evaluation of biochar for on-farm soil management in California

  • Investigating the solubilization of soil phosphorus and transport into plants

  • Evaluating the electrochemical properties of biochars for nutrient availability, greenhouse gas
    emissions, and contaminant fate
  • Development of novel applications of animal wastes and biochar for nutrient capture and subsequent fertilizer value
  • Evaluating inhalation exposure of biochar particulate matter and bound contaminants from agricultural associated dust
  • Examining biochar soil amendments for reduced bioavailability of pharmaceuticals and heavy metals

  • The UC Davis Biochar Database to connect biochar physical and chemical properties



Cartoon depicting a general overview of research being carried out in the Environmental Soil Chemistry Lab at UC Davis.

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