Tuesday 10:30 Linda Ann Figueroa, Associate Prof of Environmental Science and Engineering, Colorado School of Mines
Microbial Ecology of Anaerobic Biosystems Treating Mining Influenced Waters
Anaerobic passive biosystems (e.g., wetlands and sulfate reducing bioreactors) rely on sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) for remediation of mining influenced waters. The SRB reduce the sulfate ion to sulfide, which leads to an increase in pH and precipitates the dissolved metals as insoluble sulfide metals. Anaerobic biosystems however are comprised of a complex microbial consortium, the SRB being only one of many different genera of bacteria present in a sulfate reducing biozone. The survival of SRB is closely related to the health of the microbial community in which they live. Because SRB are unable to breakdown cellulose (the major organic component in wetlands and compost bioreactors) directly for their energy needs they must rely on cellulolytic - fermenting bacteria to provide the necessary substrates, such as lactate and b utyrate. Thus, it is important to understand the environmental constraints necessary to maintain a healthy community of cellulolytic - fermenting bacteria, who are responsible for the hydrolysis of cellulose into cellobiose and glucose, and subsequent fermentation to lactate and butyrate. This presentation is an overview of the current understanding of the microbial ecology of anaerobic biosystems and the implications in terms of operation and design.
Dr. Linda A. Figueroa is an Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines. She is a registered professional engineer and has more than 20 years of experience in research and design of treatment processes. Prior to joining the Colorado School of Mines she held engineering positions at environmental engineering consulting companies. She has more than 30 technical papers and journal articles in the area of treatment.
Since 1992 Dr. Figueroa has been involved in the remediation and treatment of metals and radionuclides primarily with bioprocesses. Dr. Figueroa is active in the Acid Drainage Technology Initiative-Metal Mining Sector where she is involved in the review and development of resources on available technology options for mine sites. Dr. Figueroa is the technology focus area leader of the Rocky Mountain Regional Hazardous Substance Research Center for Mine Waste Remediation. Her teaching experience has included courses on microbiology, treatment and waste management.