PhD, Soil Science,
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Department of Soil Science
1525 Observatory Dr., Madison, WI 53706-1299
Director of Information Technology and Computing (Mar 2012 - Apr
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Interim Information Technology Director (Mar 2010 - Feb
College of Agricultural and Life
Interim Assistant Dean (Oct 2006 - May 2007)
Undergraduate Programs & Services
Agricultural and Life Sciences
Chair, Information Technology Committee (Sep 2006 - Jun
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Professional Soil Scientist, licensed, State of Wisconsin
Tel: 608 890-0689
Fax: 608 265-2595
Of current interest:
My current research activities
relate to nutrient recovery from wastewater, including phosphorus removal from
wastewater treatment plants in the form of brushite, a largely neglected
phosphorus fertilizer. Coverage of this activity is to be found at: 'UW
helps communities create cleaner, greener wastewater',
Life for Phosphorus', 'Second
Life for Phosphorus - Interview', 'Business
will implement new phosphorus recycling process in Midwest' and 'New
Solution Reduces Phosphorus Pollution and Helps Farmers'.
recent push is for nitrogen and potassium recovery from anaerobic digests of
various kinds by electrodialysis. Because these projects have an applied and
commercial aspect to them, I have worked closely with
WARF, the intellectual property holder of
the Univ of Wisconsin-Madison, and the campus
Conflict of Interest
Cmte; Nutrient Recovery & Upcycling
(NRU), LLC, has been set up to patent and commercialize intellectual
property from the Barak Lab.
Also of interest:
of impermeability in a local bioretention pond' A report on the effect of
road salts from a parking lot washing into retention ponds constructed to
remediate the runoff and the resulting impermeability due to sodicity. This is
a classic case of the importance of exchangeable sodium percentage and
electrolyte level, with the greatest impermeability caused when the salt level
is low, only not in semi-arid areas prone to sodicity and salinity problems but
the American North Central setting. Results of two capstone projects at the
- 'Fertility, fertilizers and food:
in defense of Haber' A 50-minute lecture describing soil fertility and the
wise use of fertilizers for food production to feed the current and growing
human population, including the revolutionary consequences of synthetic
nitrogen fixation. A response to the characterization of Justus von Liebig and
Fritz Haber in Michael Pollan's 'In Defense of Food' and part of the UW-Madison
Agroecology Fall 2009 Lecture Series and GoBigRead.
- Report on struvite crystallization in wastewater
treatment plants for nutrient recovery in UW publications: Grow (CALS
glossy), Wisconsin Week (official UW newspaper), and University
associated photos. Also struvite crystallization on
Langmuir monolayers, self-assembled monolayers, and cation exchange membranes
as a means to recover and recycle phosphorus from wastewater (municipal sewage
and agricultural manure) as a high-value fertilizer material (US Patent No.
7,182,872; issued 27 Feb 2007.)
M.L. Jackson's Soil Chemical Analysis: Advanced Course
has been rekeyed from the last (1985) edition and reprinted, with a new
introduction and commemorative material. See
for sample pages and here for ordering
- Experiments with ICE's Polyhedral
Model Kit, remanufacturing connectors for more precise assembly of
The Virtual Museum of Minerals and
Molecules as a WINNER of the 2003 Sci/Tech Web Awards. "Each year, our
editors review over a thousand web sites and select the 50 they deem the most
innovative, creative and valuable as science and technology resources for our
readers. This year your web site has been selected as one of the best of its
- College press release,
To Soil Aging", 3 Mar 1999
Award, 26 Oct 1999
My background is in soil chemistry of plant nutrients, plant nutrition,
and scientific visualization. My current interest is largely nutrient recovery
from wastewater, particularly P, N and K, and this is the thrust of my current research projects.
Previous projects include:
- Modelling, measurement, and prediction of agricultural liming on
millimeter scale, using ion-specific microelectrodes, diffusion cells, and
- Evaluation of soil chemical changes as a result of long-term
fertility management practices, such as exchangeable base cations, exchangeable
acidity, and cation exchangeability, and their reversibility.
- Effect of cultivar and soil treatments on calcium uptake by
snapbeans, in order to enhance calcium uptake by humans.
- Investigation into the interaction in the uptake of sulfur and
selenium by Allium, as part of evaluating the phytopharmaceutical
potential of organo-S and organo-Se compounds.
- Evaluation of wild potato germplasm for efficiency and preference in
- Iron nutrition of plants--evaluation of iron chelates, their
chemistry, and effectiveness in ameliorating iron deficiencies.
- Vineyard, DL, A Hicks, KG Karthikeyan, and P Barak. 2020. Economic analysis of electrodialysis, denitrification, and anammox for nitrogen removal in municipal wastewater treatment. J. Cleaner Production 262:121145. doi: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2020.121145
- Barak, P. 2018. Electrodialysis stacks,
systems, and methods for recovering ammonia and monovalent salts from anaerobic
digestate. U.S. Patent 10,125,428, 13 Nov 2018. (US Patent Application
20150308001. Filed: 24 Apr 2015, Publication date: 29 Oct 2015).
- Bashar, R, K Gungor, KG Karthikeyan, and P Barak. 2018.
Cost effectiveness of phosphorus removal processes
in municipal wastewater treatment. Chemosphere 197:280-290.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2017.12.169
- Barak, P, and S. Kruse. 2017. ADPF: Use
Least Squares Polynomial Regression and Statistical Testing to Improve
Savitzky-Golay. R package version 3.4.1. Available at CRAN (Comprehensive R
Archive Network) under GPL-3 license,
- Obear, GR, P Barak, and DJ Soldat. 2016. Soil inorganic carbon accumulation in sand putting
green soils II: Acidbase relationships as affected by water chemistry and
nitrogen source. Crop Sci 56:1-11. doi: 10.2135/cropsci2015.06.0342
- Rosanoff, A, E Capron, P Barak, B Mathews and F Nielsen. 2015.
Edible plant tissue and soil calcium:magnesium
ratios: Data too sparse to assess implications for human health. Crop
& Pasture Sci 66:12651277.http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/CP15085
- Barak, P. 2013.
Phosphate recovery from acid phase anaerobic digesters.
U.S. Patent No. 8,568,590, rights assigned to inventor. (follows U.S. Patent
Appl. No. 20100282674, Barak, 2010.)
- Melby, E.S., D.J. Soldat, and P. Barak. 2013.
Preferential soil sorption of oxygen-18 labeled
phosphate. Comm Soil Sci Pl Anal 44:2371-2377. doi:
- Melby, E.S., D.J. Soldat, and P. Barak. 2013.
Biological decay of 18O-labeled
phosphate in soils. Soil Biol Biochem 63:124-128. doi:
- Melby, E.S., D.J. Soldat, and P. Barak. 2011.
Synthesis and detection of oxygen-18 labeled
phosphate. PLoS One 6(4): e18420; doi:
- Avila-Segura, M, P. Barak, J. Hedtcke and J.L. Posner. 2011. Nutrient and alkalinity removal by
corn grain, stover and cob harvest in Upper Midwest USA. Biomass and
Bioenergy 35:1190-1195; doi:
- Soldat, D.J., P. Barak, and B.J. Lepore. 2009.
Microscale colorimetric analysis using a desktop
scanner and automated digital image analysis. J. Chem. Educ.
86:617-620 (plus 6 pp. supplemental online material and AnalyzeMicroplateStatistics ImageJ macro)
- Lepore, B.J., and P. Barak. 2009. A
colorimetric microwell method for determining bromide concentrations.
Soil Sci Soc. Am. J. 73:1130-1136; doi:10.2136/sssaj2007.0226 .
- Barak, P., M.E. Tabanpour, M. Avila-Segura, J.M. Meyer. 2007.
Struvite Crystallization. US Patent No.
7,182,872; rights assigned to WARF.)
- Barak, P., and E.A. Nater. 2005. The
Virtual Museum of Minerals and Molecules: Molecular visualization in a virtual
hands-on museum. J. Nat. Resour. Life Sci. Educ. 34:67-71. [html]
- Avila-Segura, M., J.W. Lyne, J.M. Meyer, and P. Barak. 2004.
Rapid spectrophotometric analysis of soil
phosphorus with a microplate reader. Comm. Soil Sci. Pl. Anal.
- Grunwald, S., and P. Barak. 2003. 3D
geographic reconstruction and visualization techniques applied to land resource
management. Trans. GIS 7(2):231-241.
- Grunwald, S., and P. Barak. 2002. The
use of VRML for virtual soil landscape modeling. System Analysis
Modelling Simulation (SAMS) 41:755-776.
- Grunwald S., P. Barak, and D.J. Rooney. 2001.
Web-based virtual models for the earth science
community. ASAE International Meeting in Sacramento, CA, July 29-August 1,
2001; Paper No. 013029. (pdf)
- Orvis, K.S., I.L. Goldman, and P. Barak. 2001.
Excess sulfate supply and onion-induced human
antiplatelet activity. J. Plant Nutr. Soil Sci. 164:457-462
- Grunwald, S., and P. Barak. 2001. Virtual reality modeling in earth sciences. p.
216-221. In: C. Landauer and K.L. Bellman. (ed.) The Proceedings of the
International Conference on Simulation and Multimedia in Engineering Education
& Virtual Worlds and Simulation. Soc. Modeling and Simulation
International, San Diego, CA. [ISBN:1-56555-224-5; Western MultiConference on
Computer Simulation. Phoenix, AZ, 7-11 Jan 2001] (illustrations at
- Sherman, L.A., and P. Barak. 2000. The
solubility and dissolution kinetics of dolomite
[CaMg(CO3)2] in Ca-Mg-HCO3/CO3
solutions at 25°C and 0.1 MPa carbon dioxide. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J.
- Grunwald, S., P. Barak, K. McSweeney, and B. Lowery. 2000.
Soil landscape models at different scales
portrayed in Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML). Soil Sci.
- Mafongoya, P.L., P. Barak, J.D. Reed. 2000.
Carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus mineralization of
tree leaves and manure. Biol. Fert. Soils 30:298-305.
- Starr, G.C., P. Barak, B. Lowery, and M. Avila-Segura. 2000.
Soil particle concentrations and size analysis
using a dielectric method. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 64:858-866.
- Barak, P., B.O. Jobe, A. Krueger, L.A. Peterson, and D.A. Laird.
1997. Effects of long-term soil acidification due
to agricultural inputs in Wisconsin. Plant and Soil197:61-69.
- Hernández-Apaolaza, L., P. Barak, and
J.J. Lucena. 1997. Chromatographic determination
of commercial Fe(III)-chelates of EDTA, EDDHA and EDDHMA. J. Chromatogr.
- Barak, P., and I.L. Goldman. 1997. Antagonistic relationship between selenate and
sulfate uptake in onion (Allium cepa): Implications for the production
of organosulfur and organoselenium compounds in plants. J. Agric. Food
- Miglioranza, E., P. Barak, K. Kmiecik, and J.
Nienhuis. 1997. Comparison of soil and genotypic
effects on calcium content of snap bean pods. HortScience 32:68-70.
- Liu, Y.-J., D.A. Laird, and P. Barak. 1997.
Release and fixation of NH4 and K under
long-term fertility management. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 60:310-314.
- Cihacek, L.J., W.L. Anderson, and P. Barak. 1996. Linkages between
soil quality and plant, animal and human health. p. 9-23. In J.W. Doran
and A.J. Jones (ed.) Methods for Assessment of Soil Quality. SSSA Spec.
Publ. No. 49, Madison, WI.
- Barak, P., C.A. Seybold, and K. McSweeney. 1996.
Self-similitude and fractal dimension of sand
grains by computer-assisted image analysis. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J.
- Barak, P., L.A. Sherman, and B.O. Jobe. 1996.
Comments on "Design and construction of a
personal-computer-based automatic titrator". Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J.
- Barak, P., Smith, J.D., Krueger, A.R., and Peterson, L.A. 1996.
Measurement of short-term nutrient uptake rates in
cranberry by aeroponics. Plant, Cell, and Environ. 19:237-242.
- Lucena, J.J., P. Barak, and L. Hernández-Apaolaza. 1996.
Isocratic ion-pair high-performance liquid
chromatographic method for the determination of various iron(III) chelates.
J. Chrom. A.727:253-264.
- Barak, P. 1995. Smoothing and
differentiation by an adaptive-degree polynomial filter. Anal. Chem.
- Barak, P., and P.A. Helmke. 1993. "The
chemistry of zinc" pp. 1-13. in: A. Robson (ed.) Zinc in Soils and
Plant. Proc., Internat. Symp. on "Zinc in Soils and Plants", Perth,
Australia. Kluewer Acad. Press, Dordrecht.
- Welhouse, G., P. Barak, and W.F. Bleam. 1993. Dimerization constants of atrazine and
CF3-labeled atrazine. J. Phys. Chem. 97:11583-11589.
- Barak, P. and Y. Chen. 1992. Equivalent
radii of humic macromolecules from acid-base titration. Soil Sci.
- Bouabid, R., E.A. Nater, and P. Barak. 1992.
Measurement of pore size distribution in a
lamellar Bt horizon by epifluorescence microscopy and image analysis.
- Hadas, A., M. Sofer, J.A.E. Molina, P. Barak, and C.E. Clapp. 1992.
Assimilation of nitrogen by soil microbial
population: NH4 vs. organic N. Soil Biol. Biochem.
- Laird, D.A., P. Barak, E.A. Nater, and R.H. Dowdy. 1991.
Chemistry of smectitic and illitic phases in
interlayered soil smectite. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 55:1499-1504.
- Baruch, E., D. Lichtenberg, P. Barak, and S. Nir. 1991.
Calcium binding to bile salts. Chem. Phys.
- Barak, P., Y. Coquet, T. Halbach, and J.A.E. Molina. 1991.
Evaluation of the biodegradability of
polyhydroxybutyrate(co-hydroxyvalerate) and starch-incorporated polyethylene
plastic films in soils. J. Environ. Qual. 20:173-179.
- Barak, P., J.A.E. Molina, A. Hadas, and C.E. Clapp. 1990.
Mineralization of amino acids and evidence of
direct assimilation of organic nitrogen. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J.
- Barak, P., J.A.E. Molina, A. Hadas, and C.E. Clapp. 1990.
Optimization of an ecological model with the
Marquardt algorithm. Ecol. Modelling 51:251-263.
- Barak, P. 1990. SPECIES: A spreadsheet
program for modeling speciation of soil solution. J. Agron. Educ.
19:44-46. [Download software!]
- Barak, P. 1989. Double layer theory
prediction of Al-Ca exchange on clay and soil. J. Colloid Interface
Barak's Virtual Poster
- General Soil Science, Soils
301 (undergrad; course coordinator, Fall 2006-2009; co-instructor, Fall 2006-2019)
- Plant Nutrition Management, Soils/Hort/Agron 326 (undergrad),
3 cr (Spring semester)
- Mineral Nutrition of Plants, Soils/Hort/Bot 626 (grad), 3 cr
(with Edgar Spalding, Botany; alternate years, next: Fall 2019.)
- Issues in Agriculture, Environment and Life Sciences, InterAg
155 (freshman seminar; instructor/mentor; Fall semester, annually)
- Graduate Seminar, Soils 728 (Spring & Fall; 2008, 2019)
- Soils and Environmental Quality, Soils/EnvSt 324, 3 cr
(on-line section, Fall 2005, Summer 2009, Summer 2010)
- Special Topics: Soil Mineralogy, SoilSci 699 (grad), 3 cr
(with Ed Nater, Univ of Minnesota; Spring '01.)
- Leslie Sherman (PhD): Completed degree, 17 Apr
- Kang Xia (PhD; Dr. Philip Helmke, coadvisor): Completed
degree, Nov 1996
- Babou Jobe (MSc): Completed degree, 18 Jan 1996
- Gulden Zont (MSc): Completed degree, Aug 1997
- Mauricio Avila (PhD) Completed MSc degree, May
- DD Levine (MSc) Completed MSc degree, June 2000
- Jim Lyne (MSc) Completed MSc degree, Aug 2002
- Mauricio Avila (PhD) Completed PhD degree, May
- Juli Meyer (MSc) Completed MSc degree, Aug 2004
- Merin Abraham (MSc)Completed MSc degree, Civil Environ Engineering, Aug 2008
- Amanda Boyce (MSc) Completed MSc degree, Aug 2010
- JoonHe Lee (MSc; Dr. Mark Powell, coadvisor) Completed MSc
degree, Apr 2012
- Tyler Anderson (MSc)Completed MSc degree, Aug
- Amanda Jensen (MSc) Completed MSc degree, Jul
- Dustin Sawyer (MSc) Completed MSc degree, Jan 2019
- Donnie Vineyard (MSc) Completed MSc degree, Civil Environ Engineering, Jul 2019
- Laura Bybee (MSc) Completed MSc degree, Aug 2019
- Jacob Kruse (MSc) Completed MSc degree, Jun 2020
- Donnie Vineyard (PhD) ...Civil Environ Engineering, in progress
Link to Department of Soil
Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Last modified 30 Jun 2020 by Phillip Barak.