Deniz F. Aktas, Research Associate

Dr. Deniz Aktas

Institute for Energy and the Environment
Department of Botany and Microbiology

University of Oklahoma; Norman, OK 73019

Dr. Aktas’ research is focused on the biodegradability of various traditional and bio-based fuels under anaerobic conditions prevalent in ballast tanks, refineries, storage facilities and oil reservoirs.  Currently, she is involved in testing alternative fuels (second generation biofuels) that are under consideration for future use by the U.S. Navy.  These fuels need to be carbon neutral, less toxic to the environment and to some extent; they should be resistant to microbial decay.  Dr. Aktas is testing these fuels under anaerobic conditions using seawater as a medium.  Her analysis of the sulfate-reduction/metabolite process will provide a better understanding of the rate of biodegradation and the predominant mode of decay of the parent compounds in the fuels.  With these findings, Dr. Aktas will be able to assist the Navy in selecting the future fuels best suited to their needs:  to moderate a reliance on fossil fuels while assessing the biological stability of alternative fuels to be used in their place.  In a previous collaboration she was able to show that first generation biodiesels are relatively easy for anaerobic microorganisms to degrade, thereby creating an environment favorable to biocorrosion.  Dr. Aktas has also been involved in research determining differences in microflora and the biodegradability of different diesel cuts (high-sulfur, low-sulfur and ultra-low sulfur diesels).

© 2010 Alternative Fuels MURI