Nitrates are contaminants at nuclear waste sites and can also seep into the groundwater from sources such as agricultural runoff, wastewater treatment plants and septic tanks. As the increasing global population boosts demand for drinking water, it is important to maintain and protect these resources.
The project calls for sequencing six anaerobic bacteria samples known to be capable of breaking down nitrate contaminants that have been isolated from the Oak Ridge-Integrated Field Research Center, one of the sites established by the U.S. Department of Energy to study the roles various microbes play in breaking down environmental contaminants over time. From a bioremediative perspective, the genomic information could be used to develop more efficient techniques at breaking down contaminants in a number of environments ranging from uranium-contaminated sites to groundwater and potentially for greenhouse gases as well. Sequencing these microbes also allows researchers to make genomic comparisons to better understand why these microbes thrive in highly contaminated subsurface areas and to better understand their roles in the global carbon and nitrogen cycles.
Principal Investigators: Stefan Green, Florida State University
Program: CSP 2010