Kathleen E. Duncan, Research Associate Professor

Dr. Kathleen Duncan

department of botany and microbiology
institute for Energy and the Environment

University of Oklahoma; Norman, OK 73019
Email: kathleen.e.duncan-1@ou.edu


  • Microbially Influenced Corrosion (MIC) and biodeterioration of petroleum products and biofuels (Biocorrosion/Biodeterioration)
  • Molecular characterization of microbial isolates and enrichments capable of anaerobic biodegradation of hydrocarbons (anaerobic biodegradation)
  • Bioremediation of soil ecosystems contaminated by oil and oilfield brine
  • Microbially Enhanced Oil Recovery (MEOR)

Dr. Duncan heads a laboratory at OU working to characterize the different microbial communities and species associated with fuel biodeterioration and biocorrosion.  Using a variety of advanced molecular techniques, her research assists in determining the genetic diversity, community composition, and physiological capabilities of anaerobic hydrocarbon-degrading and corrosive microbial communities.  In 2006 and 2008, she participated in expeditions to Alaska’s North Slope to obtain samples for the analysis of microbial communities causing corrosion, and she is the PI for EPA-funded research using a model pipeline system to determine the effect of corrosion inhibitors on pitting corrosion in collaboration with scientists from ConocoPhillips and the University of Tulsa.  She is designing and testing protocols in order to make rapid and effective molecular detection and monitoring of corrosive microbial communities available to field operators.

•  Dr. Beatriz Monica Perez-Ibarra
•  Dr. Athenia L. Oldham

Stevenson, B. S.; Drilling, H. S.; Lawson, P. A.; Duncan, K. E.; Parisi, V. A., & Suflita, J. M. Microbial communities in bulk fluids and biofilms of a North Slope Oil facility have similar composition but different structure. Environ. Microbiol. In press. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2010.02413.x.

Struchtemeyer, C.; Duncan, K., & McInerney, M. Evidence for syntrophic butyrate metabolism under sulfate-reducing conditions in a hydrocarbon-contaminated aquifer. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. In press. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2011.01046.x

Suflita, J. M., & Duncan, K. E. (2010) Chapter title Anaerobic Hydrocarbon Biodegradation and Biocorrosion. In: 'Applied Microbiology and Molecular Biology in Oil Field Systems' C. Whitby, T.L. Skovhus (eds.) Springer, Berlin.

Gieg, L. M.; Davidova, I. A.; Duncan, K. E., & Suflita, J. M. Methanogenesis, sulfate reduction, and crude oil biodegradation in hot Alaskan oil fields. Environ. Microbiol. (2010), 12(11), 3074-3086.

Duncan, K. E.;  Gieg, L. M.; Parisi, V. A.; Tanner, R. S.; Tringe, S. G.; Bristow, J., & Suflita, J. M. Biocorrosive thermophilic microbial communities in Alaskan North Slope oil facilities. Environ. Science Tech. (2009), 43, 7977-7984.

Gieg, L. M.; Duncan, K. E., & Suflita, J. M. Bioenergy production via microbial conversion of residual oil to natural gas.  Appl. Environ. Microbiol. (2008), 74, 3022-3029.

Zambrano, L.; Thoma, G.; Duncan, K., & Sublette, K.  Probabilistic reliability modeling for oil exploration & production (E & P) facilities in the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve. Risk Analysis: An International Journal (2007), 27, 1323-1333. doi:  10.1111/j.1539-6924.2007.00961.

Davidova, I. A.; Gieg, L. M.; Duncan, K. E., & Suflita, J. M. Anaerobic phenanthrene mineralization by a carboxylating sulfate-reducing bacterial enrichment.  ISME Journal (2007), 1, 436-442.

Sublette, K.; Tapp, J.; Fisher, J.; Jennings, E.; Duncan, K.; Thoma, G.; Brokaw, J., & Todd, T. Lessons learned in remediation and restoration in the Oklahoma prairie.  Applied Geochemistry (2007) 22, 2225-2239.

Youseff, N.; Simpson, D. R.; Duncan, K. E.; McInerney, M. J.; Folmsbee, M.; Fincher, T., & Knapp, R. M. In-situ biosurfactant production by injected Bacillus strains in a limestone petroleum reservoir.  Appl. Environ. Microbiol. (2007), 73, 1239-1247.

Sublette, K. L.; Jennings, E.; Mehta, C.; Duncan, K.; Brokaw, J.; Todd, T., & Thoma, G. Monitoring soil ecosystem recovery following bioremediation of a terrestial crude oil spill with and without fertilizer amendment. Soil & Sediment Contamination:  an International Journal (2007), 16, 181-208.

Davidova, I. A.; Duncan, K. E.; Choi, O. K., & Suflita, J. M. Desulfoglaeba alkanexedens gen. nov., sp. Nov., an n-alkane degrading sulfate reducing bacterium.  Int. J. System. Evol. Microbiol. (2006), 56, 2737-2742.

Youssef, N. H.; Duncan, K. E., & McInerney, M. E. Importance of 3-hydroxy fatty acid composition of lipopeptides for biosurfactant activity.  Appl. Envir. Microbiol. (2005), 71, 7690-7695.

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