Meet Vijay Chaganti, Ph.D.: Assistant Professor, School of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech

In October 2023, Virginia Tech’s School of Plant and Environmental Sciences welcomed Dr. Vijay Chaganti as a new faculty member. As an assistant professor, Dr. Chaganti brings expertise in byproduct use and management, with a focus on research and extension responsibilities.

Dr. Chaganti arrived at Virginia Tech after serving as a research scientist at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center in El Paso, where he also completed his postdoctoral studies. He takes over the responsibilities previously held by VT Professor Emeritus Greg Evanylo, specializing in biosolids and other byproducts, with a keen interest in their impact on soil health and water quality.

Dr. Chaganti’s postdoctoral work concentrated on understanding salinity issues in the soil of the arid El Paso region, exploring various management practices to mitigate soil salinity. Due to freshwater scarcity, he examined alternative water sources to support agricultural needs, leading to collaborations with wastewater treatment facilities for potable water. His research included managing and utilizing this water for irrigation, altering cropping patterns, and using soil amendments to enhance the beneficial use of sludge, including composting biosolids. Before his departure, his team produced its first batch of biosolids compost.

Relocating to Virginia, Dr. Chaganti has become more involved in research concerning the presence of PFAS in biosolids and wastewater treatment applications. He is sharing insights with his colleagues at Texas A&M, drawing on their 5-6 years of research that could illuminate any long-term effects of wastewater on PFAS accumulation in soils.

Dr. Chaganti’s primary focus at Virginia Tech is on soil health, linking it to the management of waste products and their beneficial reuse in land applications. He is dedicated to investigating how these practices alter soil dynamics and, consequently, how they influence water and air quality.

In the future, Chaganti also plans to look into PFAS dynamics in soils once biosolids or wastewater have been applied. He’ll collaborate with colleagues who have the ability to test for PFAS.

On a personal note, while Chaganti enjoyed the big city offerings in El Paso, he has embraced the seasons to be appreciated in Blacksburg. Dr. Chaganti looks forward to working with VBC in the future. We welcome him and encourage our members to read more about his research and expertise here.