University of Calgary

Lisa Gieg

  • Associate Professor
  • Associate Head - Undergraduate
  • Microbiology

Research Interests

Environmental Microbiology, Petroleum Microbiology, Anaerobic Hydrocarbon Metabolism, Biodegradation, Bioremediation, Enhanced Energy Recovery, Sulfate Reduction, Methanogenesis

In the Gieg laboratory, we aim to understand how anaerobic microorganisms metabolize a variety of compounds associated with the energy industry (mainly hydrocarbons) that have either been accidentally released into the environment or are present in natural reservoirs.  Recent studies have shown that anaerobic microorganisms use metabolic strategies distinct from those of aerobes in order to biodegrade hydrocarbons, such as activation by fumarate addition, carboxylation, hydroxylation, and methylation.  Overall, anaerobic hydrocarbon metabolism is poorly understood.  

Using combined tools of cultivation, analytical chemistry, and molecular biology, we seek to: 

  1. elucidate novel anaerobic biodegradation pathways of different classes of hydrocarbons and related compounds under highly reduced conditions (e.g., sulfate-reducing and methanogenic conditions)  
  2. understand the associated biochemical and enzymatic mechanisms 
  3. identify and isolate key consortia and species involved 
  4. investigate the ecological constraints on anaerobic hydrocarbon metabolism

In determining the fundamental science underlying anaerobic hydrocarbon biodegradation, we can begin to formulate universal themes of metabolism and apply what we learn to important environmental problems or energy-related systems such as:

  • Anaerobic bioremediation at fuel-contaminated sites
  • Enhanced energy recovery via the bioconversion of oil to methane in marginal oilfields
  • Biocorrosion
  • Paraffin biotreatment or prevention
  • Heavy oil formation and recovery via microbial activity
  • Oil sands tailings ponds reclamation
  • Oil and gas souring

Selected Publications

  • Google Scholar Link
  • Fowler, S. J.; M.-L.Gutierrez-Zamora; M. Manefield; L. M. Gieg2014. ‘Identification of toluene degraders in a methanogenic enrichment culture’.  Online, June 9, doi: 10.1111/1574-6941.12364  
  • Berdugo-Clavijo, C.; L. M. Gieg.  2014.  Conversion of crude oil to methane by a microbial consortium enriched from oil reservoir production waters.  Frontiers Microbiol. online May 5, Vol. 5: Article 197.  doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2014.00197.  
  • Gieg, L. M.; S. J. Fowler; C. Berdugo-Clavijo. 2014. Syntrophic biodegradation of hydrocarbon contaminants.  Curr. Opin. Biotechnol27: 21-29.
  • Fowler, S. J.; L. M. Gieg.  2014. Stable Isotope Probing for Environmental Microbiology Studies (Ch. 14).  In: “Molecular Methods and Applications in Microbiology”, Caister Academic Press, Norfolk, UK, Eds. T. Lund Skovhus; S. M. Caffrey; C. R. J. Hubert, pp. 171-179. 
  • Gieg, L. M.; K. Budwill. 2014. Molecular Biology Methods Applied to Microbial Methane Production in Oil Reservoirs, Coal Beds, and Shales (Ch. 7).  In:  “Molecular Methods and Applications in Microbiology”, Caister Academic Press, Norfolk, UK, Eds. T. Lund Skovhus; S. M. Caffrey; C. R. J. Hubert, pp. 77- 90. 
  • An, D.; D. Brown; I. Chatterjee; X. Dong; E. Ramós-Padron; S. Wilson; S. Bordenave; S. M. Caffrey; L. M. Gieg, C. W. Sensen; G. Voordouw.  2013.  Microbial community and potential functional gene diversity involved in anaerobic hydrocarbon degradation and methanogenesis involved in an oil sands tailings pond.  Genome 56:  612-618.  
  • An, D.; S. M. Caffrey; J. Soh; A. Agrawal; D. Brown; K. Budwill; X. Dong; P. F. Dunfield; J. Foght; L. M. Gieg; S. Hallam; N. W. Hanson; Z. He; T. R. Jack; J. Klassen; K. M. Konwar; E. Kuatsjah; C. Li; S. Larter; V. Leopatra; C. L. Nesbø; T. B. Oldenburg; A. P. Page; E. Ramos-Padron; R. Rochman; A. Saidi-Mehrabad; C. W. Sensen; P. Sipahimalani; Y. C. Song; S. L.  Wilson; G. Wolbring; G. Wong; G. Voordouw. 2013.  Metagenomics of hydrocarbon resource environments indicate aerobic taxa and genes to be unexpectedly common.  Environ. Sci. Technol47:  10708-10717.  
  • Agrawal, A.; L. M. Gieg.  2013In situ detection of anaerobic alkane metabolites in subsurface environments.  Frontiers Microbiol. Chem. online June 4, Vol. 4, Article 140.  doi:10.3389/fmicb.2013.00140. 
  • Leishman, C.; E. E. Widdup; D. M. Quesnel; G. Chua; L. M. Gieg; M. A. Samuel; D. G. Muench.  2013. The effect of oil sands process-affected water and naphthenic acids on the germination and development of Arabidopsis. Chemosphere 93: 380-387.  
  • Cokar, M.; B. Ford; L. M. Gieg; M. S. Kallos; I. D. Gates.  2013.  Reactive reservoir simulation of biogenic shallow shale gas systems enabled by experimentally determined methane generation rates.  Energy & Fuels 27: 2413–2421. 
  • Berdugo-Clavijo, C.; X. Dong; J. Soh; C. W. Sensen; L. M. Gieg. 2012. Methanogenic biodegradation of two-ringed polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.  FEMS Microbiol. Ecol., 81: 124-133. 
  • Agrawal, A.; H. S. Park; S. Nathoo; L. M. Gieg; T. R. Jack; K. Miner; R. Ertmoed; A. Benko; G. Voordouw. 2012. Toluene depletion in produced oil contributes to souring control in a field subjected to nitrate injection. Environ. Sci. Technol. 46: 1285-1292. 
  • Fowler, S. J.; X. Dong; C.W. Sensen; J. M. Suflita; L. M. Gieg.  2012. Methanogenic toluene metabolism: community structure and intermediates.  Environ. Microbiol. 14: 754-764. 
  • Golby, S.; H. Ceri; L. M. Gieg; I. Chatterjee; L. L. R. Marques; R. J. Turner. 2012.  Evaluation of microbial biofilm communities from an Alberta oil sands tailings pond.  FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. 79: 240-250. 
  • Gieg, L. M.; T. R. Jack; J. M. Foght.  2011. Biological souring and mitigation in oil reservoirs. Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 92: 263-82.  
  • Quesnel, D. M.; I. M. Bhaskar; L. M. Gieg; G. Chua. 2011. Naphthenic acid biodegradation by the unicellular alga /Dunaliella tertiolecta/. Chemosphere 84: 504-511.
  • Ramos-Padrón, E.; S. Bordenave; S. Lin; I. Mani Bhaskar; X. Dong; C.W. Sensen; J. Fournier; G. Voordouw; L. M. Gieg. 2011. Carbon and sulfur cycling by microbial communities in a gypsum-treated oil sands tailings pond. Environ. Sci. Technol. 45: 439-446. 
  • Gieg, L. M.; I. A. Davidova; K. E. Duncan; J. M. Suflita. 2010. Methanogenesis, sulfate reduction and crude oil biodegradation in hot Alaskan oilfields. Environ. Microbiol. 12: 3074-3086. 
  • Callaghan, A. V., I. A. Davidova, K. Savage-Ashlock; V. A. Parisi; L.M. Gieg; J.M. Suflita, J.J. Kukor, B. Wawrik. 2010. Diversity of benzyl- and alkylsuccinate synthase genes in hydrocarbon-impacted environments and enrichment cultures. Environ. Sci. Technol. 44: 7287–7294. 
  • Gieg, L. M. 2010. Anaerobic Microbial Processes and the Prospect for Methane Production From Oil. In: Applied Microbiology and Molecular Biology in Oil Field Systems, Eds. C. Whitby and T. Lund Skovhus; Springer, pp. 189-192. 
  • Gieg, L. M. 2010. Case Study: Proof of Concept That Oil Entrained in Marginal Reservoirs Can Be Bioconverted to Methane Gas as a Green Energy Recovery Strategy. In: Applied Microbiology and Molecular Biology in Oil Field Systems, Eds. C. Whitby and T. Lund Skovhus; Springer, pp. 193-198. 
  • Savage, K. N.; L. R. Krumholz; L. M. Gieg; V. A. Parisi; J.M. Suflita; J. Allen; R. P. Philp; M. S. Elshahed. 2010. Biodegradation of low-molecular-weight alkanes under mesophilic, sulfate-reducing conditions: metabolic intermediates and community patterns. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. 72: 485-495. 
  • Yagi, J. M.; J. M. Suflita; L. M. Gieg; C.M. DeRito; C.-O. Jeon; E. L. Madsen. 2010. Subsurface cycling of nitrogen and anaerobic aromatic hydrocarbon biodegradation revealed by nucleic acid and metabolic biomarkers. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 76: 3124-3134. 
  • Duncan, K. E.; L. M. Gieg; V. A. Parisi; R. S. Tanner; J. M. Suflita; S. Green Tringe; J. Bristow. 2009. Biocorrosive thermophilic microbial communities in Alaskan North Slope oil facilities. Environ. Sci. Technol. 43: 7977-7984. 
  • Beasley, K. K.; L. M. Gieg; J. M. Suflita; M. A. Nanny. 2009. Polarizability and spin density correlate with the relative anaerobic biodegradability of alkylaromatic hydrocarbons. Environ. Sci. Technol. 43: 4995-5000. 
  • Gieg, L. M.; R. E. Alumbaugh; J. A. Field; J. Jones; J. D. Istok; J. M. Suflita. 2009. Assessing in situ rates of anaerobic hydrocarbon bioremediation. Microb. Biotechnol. 2: 222-233. 
  • Parisi, V. A.; G. R. Brubaker; M. J. Zenker; R.C. Prince; L. M. Gieg; M. L.B. da Silva; P. J. J. Alvarez; J. M. Suflita. 2009. Field metabolomics and laboratory assessments of anaerobic intrinsic bioremediation of hydrocarbons at a petroleum-contaminated site. Microb. Biotechnol. 2: 202-212.
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