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Michigan State University

Superfund Research Program

Ecology, Physiology, Molecular Genetics and Evolution of Microorganisms that Degrade Aromatic Xenobiotic Pollutants

Project Leaders: Ronald H. Olsen (University of Michigan), Jerome J. Kukor (Rutgers University)
Grant Number: P42ES004911
Funding Period: 1995 - 2000
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Project Summary (1995-2000)

The aim of this project is to understand how specific microbes degrade benzene, trichloroethylene(TCE), and other volatile organic pollutants. The focus is on the role of oxygen concentration in the expression of key genes in the microbes. The research addresses: (1) characterization of microbial enzymes; (2) the genetic regulation of enzymes involved in BTEX degradation in low oxygen environments; and (3) analysis of biochemical pathways that influence gene expression in such environments. The research will provide insight into biodegradation under conditions of low oxygen levels, conditions always present in contaminant groundwater plumes.

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