Microbes profoundly affect the mobility of contaminants in the environment, but current transport models oversimplify predictions of microbial activity in situ. DOE-funded researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the universities of Toronto and Massachusetts have coupled a genome-scale metabolic model of a uranium-reducing microorganism, Geobacter sulfurreducens, to the reactive transport code HYDROGEOCHEM to better predict the in situ bioremediation of uranium at the Rifle, Colorado, test site. This enabled the researchers to integrate field tests and laboratory investigations and to demonstrate important advances between current empirical methods of simulating microbial activity and the new genome-scale metabolic modeling approach. The new, genome-based approach better predicts the coupled physical, chemical, and biological processes influencing the mobility of contaminants in the environment. The approach can be extended to other natural environments and other microbes or microbial communities. It also demonstrates the importance of studying environmentally relevant microbes to describe important microbially mediated processes in the environment.
Reference: Microbial Biotechnology., 2009, 2 (2): 274-286.
Contact: Robert T. Anderson, SC-23.1, (301) 903-5549
SC-33.1 Earth and Environmental Sciences Division, BER
BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER
Mar 23, 2021
Molecular Connections from Plants to Fungi to Ants
Lipids transfer energy and serve as an inter-kingdom communication tool in leaf-cutter ants&rsqu [more...]
Mar 19, 2021
Microbes Use Ancient Metabolism to Cycle Phosphorus
Microbial cycling of phosphorus through reduction-oxidation reactions is older and more widespre [more...]
Feb 22, 2021
Warming Soil Means Stronger Microbe Networks
Soil warming leads to more complex, larger, and more connected networks of microbes in those soi [more...]
Jan 27, 2021
Labeling the Thale Cress Metabolites
New data pipeline identifies metabolites following heavy isotope labeling.
Aug 31, 2020
Novel Bacterial Clade Reveals Origin of Form I Rubisco
List all highlights (possible long download time)