Derek R. Lovley receives 2004 Proctor & Gamble Award from American Society for Microbiology

WASHINGTON, DC--APRIL 23, 2004--Derek R. Lovley, Ph.D., Distinguished University Professor and Department Head, Department of Microbiology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, has won the Proctor & Gamble Award in Applied and Environmental Microbiology from the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). Supported by The Procter & Gamble Company, this prestigious award honors Lovley for an array of important findings that have helped scientists understand how certain microorganisms survive under the harshest living conditions, research that is also suggesting new ways to clean up polluted environments. At the ASM General Meeting, he will deliver the Proctor & Gamble Award Lecture, "GEO-omics: Merging Systems Biology and Environmental Genomics with Geochemistry To Model the Activity of Geobacteria."

Lovley is perhaps best known for his research showing how certain anaerobes (microorganisms that do not use oxygen) instead make use of Fe(III), a compound of iron, to make energy and grow. He isolated the first known microbial species capable of using iron in its metabolism, now known as Geobacter metallireducens, in the Potomac River near Washington, DC. Lovley subsequently discovered that Geobacter species can be found in many other kinds of sedimentary and soil environments and that other microorganisms besides Geobacter are capable of using Fe(III) under ordinary and extreme growth conditions.

One of the most exciting aspects of Lovley's innovative work lies in its applications in bioremediation, which is the use of microbes or other organisms to remove hazardous substances from an environment. In addition to iron, some anaerobic bacteria can use other metals, including gold and uranium, in their metabolism. Harnessing the ability of these microbes to reduce these substances to less-harmful forms may be key to removing uranium, petroleum, and other contaminants from groundwater. Further research on the anaerobic degradation of toluene, benzene, an

Contact: Barbara Hyde
American Society for Microbiology

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