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Joseph M. Suflita, Ph. D.

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Joseph M. Suflita, PhD

George Lynn Cross Research Professor Emeritus

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 


Research areas:
Anaerobic Microbiology, Biocorrosion, Biodegradation, Bioremediation, Microbial Ecology, Environmental Microbiology

Research interests:

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.

Relevant publications:

Marks, CR, Duncan, KE, Nanny, MA, Harriman BH, Avci R, Oldham AL & and JM Suflita. 2021. An integrated metagenomic and metabolite profiling study of hydrocarbon biodegradation and corrosion in navy ships. npj Mater. Degrad. 5, 60.

Davidova IA, Lenhart TR, Nanny MA, Suflita JM. 2021. Composition and corrosivity of extracellular polymeric substances from the hydrocarbon-degrading sulfate-reducing bacterium Desulfoglaeba alkanexedens ALDC.Microorganisms. 9, 1994.

Avci R, Suflita JM, Jenneman G, and Hampton D. 2021. Impact of Metallurgical Properties on Pitting Corrosion in High-Pressure Seawater Injection Pipeline. In: Failure Analysis of Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion, Eds: Eckert RB, Skovhus TL, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL Chapter 14

Marks, CR, Callaghan AV, Davidova IA, Duncan, KE, Morris BEL, McInerney MJ and JM Suflita. 2020. The complete genome sequence of n-alkane-degrading Desulfoglaeba alkanexedens ALDC reveals multiple alkylsuccinate synthase gene clusters. Microbiology Resource Announcements 9, 17

Liang, R, Davidova, I, Hirano, S-I, Duncan, KE and JM Suflita. 2019. Community succession in an anaerobic long-chain paraffin-degrading consortium and impact on chemical and electrical microbially influenced iron corrosion. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. 95 (8): fiz111,

Davidova I, Marks C, JM Suflita. 2018. Anaerobic Hydrocarbon-Degrading Deltaproteobacteria. In: McGenity T. (eds) Taxonomy, Genomics and Ecophysiology of Hydrocarbon-Degrading Microbes. Handbook of Hydrocarbon and Lipid Microbiology. Springer, Cham 1-38.

Liang, R, Aydin E, Le Borgne S, Sunner J, Duncan KE, JM Suflita. 2018. Anaerobic biodegradation of biofuels and their impact on the corrosion of a Cu-Ni alloy in marine environments. Chemosphere 195; 427- 436

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: