Natural and Accelerated Bioremediation Research (NABIR) Highlighted at the American Society of Microbiology
NABIR investigators had a major impact on the annual meeting of the American Society of Microbiology which was attended by over 15,000 scientists. NABIR research was presented in 12 invited talks and over 50 additional scientific papers. NABIR researchers reported their findings in two sessions on “Bioreduction of Metals and Bioremediation of Metal-Contaminated Soils,” as well as at sessions on “Subsurface Microbiology,” “Anaerobic Respiration,” “Molecular Microbiology Ecology,” and “Gene Expression in the Environment.” Dr. Gil Geesey, a NABIR investigator from Montana State University, won the most prestigious award in environmental microbiology, the 2001 Procter & Gamble Applied and Environmental Microbiology Award. Dr. Geesey was recognized for his research on bacterial-surface interactions, and he presented a lecture entitled “Surfaces: Catalysts of diverse bacterial cell behavior.” Other highlights include a report by Dr. James Fredrickson of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory that the highly radiation-resistant bacterium Deinoccoccus radiodurans is endemic to subsurface soils beneath radioactive waste storage tanks at the Hanford reservation, making this microbe especially promising for in situ bioremediation approaches. Dr. Derek Lovley from the University of Massachusetts reported that during active metal reduction, subsurface microbial communities are dominated by metal- and radionuclide-reducing bacteria called Geobacter. Genomes of both Geobacter and Deinococcus have been sequenced by the BER Microbial Genome Program, and researchers are using this information to better understand the potential of these bacteria for bioremediation of metals and radionuclides at DOE sites.