Whether planning bioremediation at a contaminated site, eliminating fecal pollution of surface waters, or combating microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC), accurate quantification of specific microbial populations and direct evidence of particular biological processes is critical. Molecular biological tools (MBTs) are now available that provide direct, accurate and comprehensive characterization of microbial populations and activity in the environment to aid in evaluating water quality, treatment options, and system performance.

Workshop attendees will gain a practical understanding of each MBT, associated advantages and limitations, and how and when to apply each MBT through case study examples in three fields:

Environmental Remediation: Bioremediation, harnessing the ability of microorganisms to destroy or transform environmental pollutants, is a common and often preferred treatment strategy for sites impacted by chlorinated solvents and petroleum hydrocarbons. Topics will include:

  • CENSUS® and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) quantification of contaminant-degrading microorganisms (e.g. Dehalococcoides)
  • Stable Isotope probing (SIP) to conclusively prove whether biodegradation is occurring
  • In Situ Microcosms to cost-effectively evaluate treatment options

Microbial Source Tracking: Fecal contamination of surface waters causes outbreaks of waterborne diseases and can stem from a variety of sources including sewage, stormwater runoff, wildlife, livestock, and agricultural practices. Microbial Source Tracking (MST) analyses provide a key advantage over tradition methods - identification of the source of fecal contamination so that corrective measures can be implemented to improve water quality. Topics will include:

  • qPCR detection and quantification of human fecal pollution
  • Distinguishing human and animal fecal wastes
  • Sampling plans and protocols

Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion: Microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC), processes where microorganisms initiate, facilitate, or accelerate corrosion, affects nearly all industries and causes severe impacts. MIC prevention requires understanding microbial communities and most importantly detection and quantification of microorganisms responsible for MIC. Topics will include:

  • qPCR detection and quantification of specific microorganisms commonly responsible for MIC such as sulfate reducing bacteria.
  • T-RFLP techniques to characterize microbial community composition

Featured Presenters include:

Dr. Kerry SubletteCenter for Applied BioGeosciences, University of Tulsa

Dr. Kerry L. Sublette is Professor of Chemical Engineering and Geosciences and Sarkeys Professor of Environmental Engineering at The University of Tulsa. He has over 25 years of experience in a wide variety of bioengineering problems including biodegradation of hydrocarbons, chlorinated hydrocarbons and fuel oxygenates in soil and groundwater, environmental forensic analysis using molecular biological tools, and remediation of brine-impacted soil. Dr. Sublette has 13 patents and over 110 publications in bioprocessing, bioremediation, brine spill remediation, and restoration of soil ecosystems. He chairs the annual International Petroleum Environmental Conference and serves on the Oklahoma Board of Environmental Quality. 

Eric Raes - Engineering and Land Planning, Clinton, NJ 

Eric Raes is the President of Bio-Enhance in Princeton, New Jersey. In 2012, Eric founded Bio-Enhance to manufacture and promote the distribution of a novel but emerging remedial technology the In Situ Bio- Reactor (ISBR) developed by Kerry Sublette, Ph.D. at the University of Tulsa, OK. Eric's work has the emphasis of applying Microbial Biological Tools/Enhanced Molecular Diagnostics to all aspects of environmental site assessment through remediation. Recent projects have consisted of quantifying the positive and negative shifts in the indigenous microbial community populations during and after chemical oxidation injections and bio-stimulation of both petroleum hydrocarbons and chlorinated solvents. Eric has been a member of the ITRC Environmental Molecular Diagnostics team since its onset and is an ITRC trainer for the Internet-based training. Eric earned a bachelor's degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, Rhode Island in 1988. Eric is a Licensed Site Remediation Professional in New Jersey, and holds Professional Engineering Certification in (New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania).