Dr. Daniel D. Ebeling
Professor of Chemistry


  • B.S. Chemistry, Wisconsin Lutheran College 1998
  • Ph.D. Analytical Chemistry, University of Wisconsin 2001

Research Interests

Phosphorus (P) is a required macronutrient for living things. It is a component of nucleic acids, phospholipids, ATP, some proteins, and other organic molecules. In cells, phosphorus is usually bound to four oxygen atoms in the form of a phosphate. Phosphate may be incorporated into a cell though uptake of inorganic compounds found in soil or dissolved in water. Phosphorus is an environmental concern, because excess P often promotes weed and algae growth in bodies of fresh water. This reduces water clarity, which blocks the sunlight needed for the growth of other plants. Decomposition of the weed and algae material reduces dissolved oxygen levels, leading to odors, fish kills, and a general degradation of the aesthetic and recreational value of the environment.

Often, fertilizers used in agriculture contain phosphate since it is vital to the structural integrity of crops. Soil test P (STP) is used to determine the amount of P needed for crop production as well as to determine environmental risks associated with elevated levels of soil P. The research that my students, collaborators, and I perform is on methods of detecting P in soil and water. We are pursuing novel methods of detection through the development of biosensors in collaboration with Dr. Jarrod Erbe in Biological Sciences.

The small size of WLC along with excellent science facilities and instrumentation create an environment in which students can get involved in these types of research projects with professors. Also, the departments work closely together to give students an interdisciplinary view of science. This enables the pursuit of research that lies at the interface of chemistry and biology.


CHE-161/162 General Chemistry
CHE-210 Quantitative Analysis
CHE-310 Instrumental Analysis
CHE-350 Biochemistry
CHE-410 Advance Analytical
CHE-498 Undergraduate Research

Here are some examples of what you might see in the classroom.

Chemistry 210 Quantitative Analysis
Instead of simply doing chemical analysis in the lab, I take the class to Pewaukee Lake in order to collect their own samples. I show them the sampling techniques and equipment, and they analyze their own samples that have real-world implications.
Chemistry 310 Instrumental Analysis
“No Fear—Instrumentation”
I collect old pieces of chemistry instrumentation for my students to abuse. At the beginning of the semester I tell them to take apart as much as they can, properly document this procedure, and try to figure out what each part does. (Once a student actually fixed an instrument that didn’t work). This teaches them to have “No Fear” of instrumentation—fear is often the biggest hurdle.
Chemistry 350 Biochemistry
Because sometimes molecules are a little small…
Students develop a linear code (with colored paper clips) to exchange messages in a way that is similar to DNA encoding for proteins. Mock DNA sequencing is performed with four colors of small wood blocks that I cut. Students also use pieces of string in order to learn about the Holliday model of recombination.
Chemistry 410 Advanced Analytical Chemistry
In the advanced analytical chemistry class, students select research projects related to the development of analytical techniques or instrumentation. They begin by searching the current literature and reproducing an experiment that is described. Their midterm and final exams are comprised of a critical review of a selected journal article and accompanying questions that I prepare. The students give a research talk and submit a paper on their findings. The paper is “reviewed” by me and revisions are suggested. This past semester several of the projects were related to the development of a phosphate biosensor.
In several different classes
Students generally are taught chemistry concepts and techniques with stock lab samples; however, many of those same techniques can be learned in a forensic science setting. I set up “crime scenes” on campus and off campus that the students investigated. Students collected “evidence,” and they analyzed the samples using standard instrumental techniques that included concepts in DNA analysis from my past research. Students must collect the evidence correctly, prepare samples, and analyze them with proper methods.

Papers and Patents

(WLC student researchers in bold type)

Gertsch, J, Ebeling, D, Kilham, L, Findlay Jr., M, Patel, V, Stetter, J. “Improvements in Ozone Measurements in Air and Water with Multi-Sensor Instruments” Manuscript for Conference and Exposition on Applications of Ozone in Commercial-Industrial and Municipal Markets, ROI and Public Health. Seattle, WA, Sept. (2010). 

Ebeling, D, Patel, V, Findlay, M, Stetter, J. “Electrochemical Ozone Sensor and Instrument with Characterization of the Electrode and Gas Flow Effects.”  Sensors & Actuators: B. Chemical, 137: 129-133 (2009).

Ebeling, D and Davis, J. “Experimental factors in soil phosphorus tests: Shaking vessel, filtration, and centrifugation”, Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 40:1610-1623 (2009).

Ebeling, D, Stetter J., Kilham, L., Patel V., Findlay, M.  “New Developments in Electrochemical Ozone Sensors and Ozone Calibrators” Proceedings of the International Ozone Conference Orlando, Florida, August (2008).

Ebeling, A.M., Bundy, L.G., Kittell, A.W., Ebeling, D.D., “Evaluating the Bray P1 Test on High pH, Calcareous Soils.” Soil Sci. Soc. of Am. J.  72:985-991 (2008).

Sobeck, S.A. and Ebeling, D.D. “Mass Spectrometric Analysis for Phosphate in Soil Extracts; Comparison of Mass Spectrometry, Colorimetry, and Inductively Coupled Plasma.” Analytical Sciences Digital Library E-UGR. Accepted April 4, 2007.

D. Ebeling, M. Poston, A. Wiik, A. Kittell, and J. Potratz. “Pewaukee Lake Phosphorus Monitoring 2003-2004” Wisconsin Lutheran College, Chemistry Dept. Technical Bulletin 001, March 2005.

Smith, L. M ., Scalf, M., Westphall, M. S., Ebeling, D. D., “Reducing the Charges of Ions Generated by Electrospray Ionization for Mass Spectrometry” U.S. Patent No. 6,727,487 (2004).

Book review: “The Sacred and the Secular University” by Jon H. Roberts and James Turner. Charis, Fall 2003.

Ebeling, D. D.; Westphall, M. S.; Scalf, M.; Smith, L. M ., “New Method of Charge Reduction in Electrospray Mass Spectrometry” U.S. Patent No. 6,649,907 (2003).

Ebeling D.D., Westphall M.S., Scalf M., and Smith L.M., “A Cylindrical Capacitor Ionization Source: Droplet Generation and Controlled Charge Reduction for Mass Spectrometry” Rapid Comm. in Mass Spectrom. 15, 401-405 (2001).

Ebeling D.D., Westphall M.S., Scalf M., and Smith L.M.,Corona Discharge in Charge Reduction Electrospray Mass Spectrometry” Anal. Chem. 72, 5158 (2000).

Beyer, K.D., Ebeling, D.D., “UV Refractive Indices of Aqueous Ammonium Sulfate Solutions” Geophys. Res. Lett. 25, 16, 3147 (1998).


"PPB-Level Detection of Halogenated Hydrocarbons in Drinking Water with an Electrochemical Sensor"  J. Stetter, M. Findlay, V. Patel, D. Ebeling, and M. Carter, Electrochemical Society Meeting, Montreal, Canada, May 2011.

“Analysis of Total Phosphorus in Harvested Aquatic Plants”  D. Ebeling, F. A. Rwatambuga, A. Ebeling , ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Meeting, Long Beach, CA, November, 2010.

“Electrochemical Detection of Ozone in Air and Water with CNT-Electrocatalysts: Industrial Applications,”  J. Stetter, M. Findlay, V. Patel, and D. Ebeling, Technical Digest of the IMCS-13 2010 – The 13th International Meeting on Chemical Sensors, , Eds. W. Wlodarski, L. Faraone, K. Kalantar-Zadeh, and G. Matthews, ISBN: 978-1-74052-208-3  [p118]. Perth, Australia, July, 2010.

"Construction and Characterization of a Phosphate Biosensor" D. Ebeling, J. Erbe, A. Kroken, A. Majeskie, J. Potratz, J. Davis. ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Meeting, Pittsburg, PA Nov 2009.

“Scientific, Collaboration, and Funding Opportunities” D. Ebeling.  Invited talk.  Annual meeting for the  International Center for Sensor Science and Engineering, Chicago, IL, March, 2009.

“Evaluating the Bray P1 Test on Alkaline, Calcareous Soils” D. Ebeling, F. Blum, A. Kittell, and A. Ebeling, Joint meetings of Geological Society of America and ASA-CSSA-SSSA, Houston, TX, October 2008.

“Ozone Sensors and Calibrator” D. Ebeling, J. Stetter, M. Findlay, V. Patel, L. Kilham, B. Brown. 12th International Meeting on Chemical Sensors. Columbus, OH, July 2008.

“Non-Radioactive Ion Source for Ion Mobility Spectrometry,” D. Ebeling, M. Findlay, J. Stetter.  12th International Meeting on Chemical Sensors. Columbus, OH, July 2008.

“Ozone Sensor and Calibrator” D. Ebeling, J. Stetter, M. Findlay, V. Patel, Sixteenth International Conference On-site Analysis for Homeland Security, Forensics, and Environmental Remediation, Baltimore, MD, January 2008.

“Electrochemical Ozone Sensor” D. Ebeling, IFPAC 2008 Twenty-Second International Forum Process Analytical Technology (Process Analysis & Control), Baltimore, MD, January 2008.

“Ion Mobility Spectrometry and Non-radioactive Ion Sources” D. Ebeling, Sixteenth International Conference On-site Analysis for Homeland Security, Forensics, and Environmental Remediation, Baltimore, MD, January 2008.

“Construction and Characterization of a Phosphate Biosensor.” A. Kroken, J. Erbe, and D. Ebeling. Poster Presentation. American Society of Microbiology, Toronto, Canada. May 2007. A. Kroken presenting Author.

“Experimental Factors that Impact Results of Water Extractable Phosphorus in Soils.” D. D. Ebeling and J. G. Davis, Oral Presentation. American Society of Agronomy-Crop Science Society of America-Soil Science Society of America (ASA-CSSA-SSSA) International Meeting, Indianapolis, IN; November 2006.

“Phosphorus Buffering Capacity, Water Extractable P, and Total P in Biosolids Treated Soils.” A. Ebeling, L. Bundy, D. Ebeling, and Faith Blum. (ASA-CSSA-SSSA) International Meeting, Indianapolis, IN; November 2006. A. Ebeling presenting Author.

“Phosphate Biosensor” Jarrod Erbe and Daniel Ebeling. Oral Presentation. Lutheran College Conference, New Ulm, MN; August 2006.

“Development and Characterization of a Biosensor for the Measurement of Bioavailable Heavy Metals" Daniel Ebeling and Jarrod Erbe WLC Brown Bag Seminar. February 17, 2005.

“The Effect of Extraction Vessel Type in Mehlich III, DI, Bray, and Olsen Phosphorus Soil Analysis.” Poster Presentation. D. D. Ebeling, J. G. Davis, and A. M. Ebeling ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT; November 2005.

“Evaluating Bray P1 on High pH, Calcareous Soils.” A. Ebeling, A. Kittell, D. Ebeling, and L. Bundy. ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT; November 2005. A. Ebeling presenting.

“Total Phosphorus in Water and Soil by Persulfate Digestion and Malachite Green.” Poster Presentation. D. D. Ebeling, A. V. Wiik, and M. J. Poston. ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Meeting, Seattle, WA; November 2004.

Professional Organization memberships

  • American Chemical Society
  • Soil Science Society of America