Boiteau Lab at Oregon State University

Metals, Microbes, and Analytical Chemistry in the Environment

In every bottle of seawater and every scoop of soil there are millions of microbes that transform minerals into the organic building blocks of life and then recycle them for the use of future generations. Understanding these elemental cycles is needed to develop accurate climate models, assess the fate and impact of harmful contaminants, and design sustainable practices for food and bio-fuel production. Yet the metabolic pathways, organisms, and genes involved in these processes are still unknown.

We develop analytical approaches (especially mass spectrometry) that provide us with new windows into how elemental cycles are structured at the molecular level. Leveraging these and other 'omics' tools, our goal is to develop predictive knowledge of how metals and organic nutrients impact food webs, evolutionary adaptations, and environmental/human health.