Mapco Emeritus Professor of Environmental Quality
Emeritus Director, Institute for Energy and the Environment
Emeritus Director, Biocorrosion Center
327 George Lynn Cross Hall
Norman, OK 73019
B.S. – State University of New York, 1973
M.S. –State University of New York, 1976
Ph.D. – The Pennsylvania State University, 1980
Anaerobic Microbiology, Biocorrosion, Biodegradation, Bioremediation, Microbial Ecology, Environmental Microbiology
In a broad sense, my research interests are concerned with the activities and interactions of microorganisms within various ecosystems. Therefore, knowledge of both the microorganisms and the habitat is essential for understanding microbial processes and the formulation of ecological principles that transcend the particular environment being studied. More specifically, I seek to determine the metabolic fate of contaminating organic chemicals in the environment and to describe these transformations in a quantitative manner. Biodegradation information has steadily emerged in recent years with the recognition that microorganisms play preeminent roles in governing the rate and extent of pollutant transformation in virtually every major habitat. However, the efforts of my laboratory differ from others in two distinct ways: It is dedicated to the study of anaerobic biodegradation processes, and it focuses on environments that are not well studied.
I research mechanisms that anaerobes have evolved to degrade pollutant substances, the rates at which such materials are metabolized, the environmental factors that influence these rates, and the relationship of this type of metabolism to the cycling of carbon and energy in these poorly understood environments. My approach is taken because little is known about the anaerobic biotransformation of pollutants despite the recognition that such materials enter and reside in anoxic habitats like aquifers and landfills. With the myriad of contaminants and the environmental and health implications of such materials, the need to understand and predict the fate of such materials is paramount. Therefore, the efforts of my laboratory are directed toward identifying the types of pollutants that are susceptible to anaerobic decay, isolating the requisite microorganisms, establishing the prevalent metabolic pathways, providing quantitative descriptions of biodegradation kinetics, and finding strategies for the bioremediation of contaminated areas. This effort includes both field and laboratory components.
Harriman B, Zito P, Podgorski DC, Tarr MA and JM Suflita. 2017. Impact of photooxidation and biodegradation on the fate of oil spilled during the Deepwater Horizon incident: Advanced stages of weathering. Environ.Sci.Technol. 51:7412- 7421.
Duncan, KE., Davidova, IA., Nunn, HS., Stamps, BW., Stevenson, BS., Souquet, PJ and JM Suflita. 2017. Design features of offshore production platforms influence their susceptibility to biocorrosion. Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 101: 6517-6529.
Aktas DF, Sorrell KR, Duncan KE, Wawrik B, Callaghan AV, and JM Suflita. 2017. Anaerobic hydrocarbon biodegradation and biocorrosion of carbon steel in marine environments: The impact of different ultra low sulfur diesels and bioaugmentation. Internat. Biodeter. Biodeg. J. 118: 45–56.
Liang R, Duncan KE, LeBorgne S, Davidova I, Yakimov MM, and JM Suflita. 2017. Microbial activities in hydrocarbon-laden wastewaters: Impact on diesel fuel stability and the biocorrosion of carbon steel. J.Biotechnology. 256:68-75.
Lyles, CN, Parisi, VA, Beasley, WH, Van Nostrand, JD, Zhou, J, and JM Suflita. 2017. Elucidation of the methanogenic potential from coalbed microbial communities amended with volatile fatty acids. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. 93: doi.org/10.1093/femsec/fix040.