Applied and Environmental Microbiology

Charles F. Kulpa

Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
University of Michigan
Postdoctoral, National Institutes of Health

The research projects and interests that have developed in my laboratory are interdisciplinary in approach and combine basic and applied microbiology research initiatives. The research areas include the manipulation and monitoring of microorganisms in unique environments, biodegradation of PAHs, metals removal from waste streams and microbial ecology of contaminated and natural environs. The disciplines used in our research include molecular biology, microbial physiology, microbial ecology, environmental engineering and chemistry.

There are a number of very important applied problems in the area of environmental studies which need innovative solutions. The use of microorganisms as mixed cultures for treatment of hazardous and non-hazardous wastes in liquids and soils is now commonly employed but there is little understanding of the behavior of microorganisms under these conditions. The contaminated wastewaters and soils can be considered as unique environments. We are developing molecular and microbial methods for the investigation of these mixed cultures and for enhancing the activity of the microbial process. These studies utilize PCR, specific functional gene probes and primers, phylogenetic probes and primers, density gradient gel electropheresis (DGGE), DNA sequencing as well as more traditional/microbial techniques. Our goal is to understand microbial community structure and the activity of specific microbes within the community in a number of environmental situations, manmade and natural.

Kulpa image

Selected Publications:

Dunn, A.M., Silliman, S.E., Dhamwichukorn, S., Kulpa, C.F. Demonstration of microbial transport into the capillary fringe via advection from below the water table. J. Hydrology 306:50-58 (2005).

Kemner, K.M., Kelly, S.D., Lai, B., Maser, J., O’Loughlin, E.J., Sholto-Douglas, D., Cai, Z., Schneegurt, M.A., Kulpa, C.F. Jr., Nealson, K.M. Elemental and redox analysis of single bacterial cells by x-ray microbeam analysis. Science 306:686-687 (2004).

Borrok, D., Fein, J.B., Kulpa, C.F. Cd and Proton adsorption onto bacterial consortia grown from industrial wastes and contaminated geologic settings. Environmental Science and Technology 38:5656-5664 (2004).

Docherty, K. and Kulpa, C. Toxicity and Antimicrobial Activity of Imidazolium and Pyridinium Ionic Liquids. Green Chemistry 7:185-189 (2005).

Docherty, K.M., Hebbeler, S.Z. and Kulpa C.F. Jr. An assessment of ionic liquid mutagenicity using the Ames Test Green Chemistry 8:560-567 (2006).

Docherty, K.M., Dixon, J.K. and Kulpa, C.F. Biodegradability of imidazolium and pyridinium ionic liquids by an activated sludge microbial community. Biodegradation (In Press).

Laursen, A.E., Kulpa, Jr., C.F., Niedzielski, M. and Estable, M.C. Bacterial cultures capable of facultative growth on methane under thermophilic or thermotolerant conditions. J. Environmental Engineering and Science (In Press).