U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights

Office of Science Researchers Write Editorial for Special Issue of Science on Microbial Ecology
Published: May 26, 2008
Posted: June 06, 2008

James Tiedje and Timothy Donohue are authors of the editorial,"Microbes in the Energy Grid." They point to the "incredible metabolic diversity of today's microbial world" as a great resource for developing new routes to energy production from renewable sources and for mitigating climate change by increasing sequestration of carbon from the atmosphere. Microbes have already been identified that can carry out a wide range of chemical transformations that could be harnessed for meeting energy and climate challenges. Yet, as the authors emphasize, the vast majority of species of microbes on Earth are still unknown. Thus research in microbial ecology will undoubtedly identify many new capabilities that will help address societal needs in energy and the environment. They urge the scientific community to "inform the public and policy-makers about the research needed to bring the chemical and catalytic power of microbes to bear on meeting our ever-growing energy needs." Jim Tiedje is professor of microbiology and crop and soil sciences and Director of the Center for Microbial Ecology at Michigan State University and Tim Donohue is professor of bacteriology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Director of the Office of Science's Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center. The editorial appears in the May 23, 2008, issue of Science.

Contact: John Houghton, SC-23.2 (301) 903-8288
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Carbon Cycle, Nutrient Cycling
  • Research Area: Microbes and Communities
  • Research Area: Sustainable Biofuels and Bioproducts
  • Research Area: DOE Bioenergy Research Centers (BRC)

Division: SC-23.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER
      (formerly SC-23.2 Medical Sciences Division, OBER)


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