Environmental Remediation Services

From site characterization through remedy selection and performance monitoring, molecular biological tools (MBTs) provide more direct, comprehensive, and accurate assessment of microbial communities and the actionable data needed to make site management decisions.

Traditionally, culture based methods like heterotrophic or “specific-degrader” plate counts have been used as microbiological evidence to assess biodegradation potential. However, more than 99% of microorganisms cannot be grown in a laboratory. Thus, conventional methods underestimate microbial populations and often do not correspond to contaminant biodegradation in the field. MBTs eliminate the need to grow microorganisms in the laboratory thereby circumventing the limitations of conventional methods.

Microbial Insights offers a broad spectrum of MBTs and Site Logic services with the goal of aiding our clients in characterizing, understanding, and managing biological processes.


Molecular Biological Tools

Molecular biological tools (MBT’s) and environmental molecular diagnostics (EMDs) encompass a variety of chemical-. biochemical-, DNA- and RNA- based analyses to characterize and quantify microbial populations and activity.

CENSUS – Based on quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), CENSUS is a nucleic acid-based approach to quantify specific microorganisms, groups of microorganisms, or functional genes involved in bioremediation or other biological processes. CENSUS targets include bacteria and functional genes responsible for biodegradation of chlorinated solvents (i.e. Dehalococcoides analysis) and petroleum products among others.

QuantArray – A hybrid technology combining the highly parallel detection of DNA microarrays with the accurate and precise quantification of qPCR.  The QuantArray provides simultaneous quantification of key organisms, critical functional genes and terminal electron accepting processes for more comprehensive yet economical site assessment.

Compound Specific Isotope Analysis (CSIA) CSIA can provide direct evidence of ongoing contaminant degradation including reductive dechlorination of PCE, TCE, and daughter products.  The results can also be used to estimate the extent of contaminant degradation.

Phospholipid Fatty Acid (PLFA)  A broad-based biochemical approach to assess viable biomass concentrations, profile microbial community composition, and provide insight into the metabolic status or “health” of the microbial community.

Stable Isotope Probing (SIP) – Is biodegradation occurring? SIP is an innovative technique to conclusively demonstrate biodegradation by quantifying incorporation of a 13C labeled contaminant of concern into microbial biomass and dissolved inorganic carbon.

Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) – NGS is a DNA-based technique which generates a profile or “fingerprint” which can be used to identify dominant members of the microbial community.

Site Logic Tools

Site Logic Tools are a group of diagnostic and professional services for the environmental restoration industry that facilitate site management decisions.

Bio-Trap Samplers  Passive sampling tools that can be used to collect microbial populations for site characterization.

In Situ Microcosm Studies – Bait bio-trap samplers with amendments (electron donors or acceptors) to answer site specific questions.

Abiotic – A variety of iron-bearing minerals are capable of degradation of chlorinated compounds including PCE, TCE, and carbon tetrachloride. Depending upon subsurface conditions and geology, abiotic degradation can be a substantial process for chlorinated hydrocarbon destruction at sites undergoing or transitioning to MNA.

Comprehensive and Historical Reports – MI offers comprehensive and historical reporting to integrate converging lines of chemical, geochemical, and microbiological evidence to aid in site management decisions.