Donald L. Sparks

S. Hallock du Pont Chair
Department of Plant and Soil Sciences

University of Delaware

Delaware Biotechnology Institute
15 innovation Way
Newark, DE 19711

Phone: (302) 831-4335
Fax: (302) 831-0605

  • Ph.D., Soil Physical Chemistry, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1979
    M.S., Soil Science, University of Kentucky, 1976
    B.S., Agronomy, University of Kentucky, 1975

Research Overview:

Dr. Sparks’ research is concerned with soil chemistry, which is the chemistry of soil reactions. This research is centered on the kinetics, or reaction rates, of metals (chromium, lead and nickel) and organics (industrial chemicals and pesticides) with soils, clay minerals, iron, aluminum, and manganese oxides, and humic substances.

Dr. Sparks also is concerned with the use of surface microscopic and spectroscopic techniques to elucidate mechanisms of metal and organic retention and release on oxide and clay surfaces. Dr. Sparks is employing atomic force microscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and extended X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy in these studies.