sealPurdue Envir. Cleanup Experts
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Bioremediation

Allan Konopka

Professor, biological sciences
(765) 494-8152
E-mail: akonopka@bilbo.bio.purdue.edu

Researches microbial biodegradation of acylanilide herbicides. Primary research interests are in the physiology of microorganisms in either natural or man-made ecosystems. Research projects in the last five years have included the physiological state of microbes at very slow growth rates, biodegradation in bioreactors, microbial ecology in subsurface soils, and the mathematical modeling of microbial growth and metabolism in bioreactors. Bioreactors are man-made systems that use natural processes to degrade waste for recycling. They can replace incinerators.

Cindy H. Nakatsu

Assistant professor, agronomy
(765) 494-2997
E-mail: cnakatsu@dept.agry.purdue.edu

Researches the biochemical and genetic basis for the degradation of pesticides by bacteria. Interested in the application of both the bacteria and genes for bioremediation. Also interested in using molecular genetic techniques to determine genetic changes in the microbial community and how these changes affect natural environments or controlled systems such as bioreactors.

Loring F. Nies

Assistant professor, civil engineering
(765) 494-8327
E-mail: nies@ecn.purdue.edu

Research interests include using microorganisms in the soil to clean up areas contaminated by leaking underground gasoline tanks and other potentially harmful materials, such as chemical solvents. Is particularly interested in the anaerobic (environments without oxygen) biodegradation of halogen compounds. Works with the Indiana Department of Transportation to implement bioremediation technologies.

Ronald F. Turco Jr.

Director, Environmental Sciences and Engineering Institute
Professor, environmental soil science
Associate director, Water Resource Research Center
(765) 494-8077
E-mail: rturco@dept.agry.purdue.edu
Web: http://www.agry.purdue.edu/agronomy/water/ labsmb/micrsoil.htm

Studies how the application of chemicals may affect the microbial ecology of soils. Particularly interested in the following pesticides: imazaquin, carbofuran, Atrazine, propachlor, fluemetsulam, metalaxyl, picloram triadimefon and vinclozolin. Recent efforts have concentrated in two emerging areas: (1) turfgrass microbial ecology and (2) microbial ecology following the introduction of drainage tiles. Of note are recent efforts to isolate microorganisms that are capable of degrading xenobiotics, a class of herbicides.

Coal tar site remediation

Linda Lee

Assistant professor, agronomy
(765) 494-8612
E-mail: llee@dept.agry.purdue.edu

Research emphasis is on assessing and predicting the chemical behavior of organic contaminants in the environment. Current research includes assessing the release mechanisms of hydrocarbons from soil contaminated with coal tar and evaluating how physical, chemical and microbial processes are influenced by the use of treated effluents as irrigation water. Also assessing the factors that influence the effectiveness of sodium dodecylbenzenesulfate (SDBS) in reducing leachate acidity from active coal piles.

Environmental chemistry

Inez Hua

Assistant professor, environmental and hydraulic engineering
(765) 494-2409
E-mail: hua@ecn.purdue.edu

Expertise in water quality; aquatic and environmental chemistry; advanced oxidation; and remediation processes. Is investigating using ultrasonic irradiation to clean up and destroy environmentally relevant compounds.

Chad Jafvert

Associate professor and area head, environmental and hydraulic engineering
(765) 494-2196
E-mail: jafvert@ecn.purdue.edu

Expertise in environmental chemistry, water quality modeling, environmental remediation, and the fate of environmental contaminants. Research includes measuring the diffusion of DDT from a contaminated sediment, which is important in determining bioavailability of DDT and similar compounds to microbes.

Cliff Johnston

Associate professor, agronomy
(765) 496-1716
E-mail: clays@purdue.edu

Works to understand chemical and physical processes that occur within soil, sediment and aquatic environments involving both inorganic suspensions (e.g., clay minerals and oxides) and organic suspensions (e.g., humus-type soil suspensions). Particular interest in the ability of soil suspensions to degrade and transform pollutants.

Linda Lee

For biography, see "Coal tar site remediation"

Enzymatic remediation

Jeffrey T. Bolin

Associate professor, biological sciences
(765) 494-4922
E-mail: jtb@mace.cc.purdue.edu

Research focuses on defining at the atomic level the three-dimensional structures of proteins and how that structure affects their functions. Has mapped the structure of an enzyme that destroys PCBs. Is working to redesign the enzyme to make it more effective against a broader range of PCBs and other toxins, such as dioxin.

Military hazardous wastes

James E. Alleman

Professor, civil engineering
(765) 494-7705
E-mail: alleman@ecn.purdue.edu

Studies biological and biochemical ways to treat waste water. Also is familiar with military hazardous waste storage and on-site treatment. Has been a consultant for waste water treatment facilities in Indiana cities and technical adviser for industrial and hazardous waste management program in Maryland.

Phytoremediation

Peter Goldsbrough

Professor, horticulture
(765) 494-1334
E-mail: goldsbrough@hort.purdue.edu

Research focuses on understanding how plants adapt to toxic heavy metals, and how plants can be used in phytoremediation. When metals are taken up by a plant, the plant must in some way prevent the metal from damaging cellular metabolism. Therefore, plants produce a variety of compounds that bind metals and reduce or prevent toxicity. Goldsbrough is studying two of these compounds: phytochelatins, small peptides required to deal with cadmium and lead; and metallothioneins, proteins that bind a variety of metals but whose function is not yet clearly established.

Brad C. Joern

Associate professor, agronomy
(765) 494-9767
E-mail: bjoern@dept.agry.purdue.edu

Overall research goal is to determine the soil and environmental factors that control the retention and release of plant nutrients and metals in soils. Current research includes: 1) Ammonium and potassium fixation and release mechanisms in soils with different properties and 2) soil factors that control water-soluble phosphorus and the retention mechanisms of both inorganic and organic phosphorus compounds. Also investigating metal migration in fields that have been treated with manure and sludge, and cooperating on projects involving phytoremediation of metal-contaminated soils.

Soil chemistry

Brad C. Joern

For biography, see "Phytoremediation"

Cliff Johnston

For biography, see "Environmental chemistry"

Linda Lee

For biography, see "Coal tar site remediation"

Ronald F. Turco Jr.

For biography, see "Bioremediation"

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; e-mail, purduenews@purdue.edu


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