Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences | Rutgers-New Brunswick

Lily Young
Professor II
Anaerobic microbial metabolism of environmental contaminants, microbial ecology

Education: Ph.D., Harvard
Phone: 848-932-5710

Research Interests

The activity and role of anaerobic microorganisms for both natural carbon cycling in the environment and for biodegradation processes has long been understudied and underutilized. Microbes are the only members of the biosphere with the ability to carry out respiratory functions using electron acceptors other than oxygen, for example, nitrate, iron (III), sulfate and carbonate. Among the microorganisms in the anaerobic microbial community, the major physiological groups important in soils and sediments include denitrifiers, iron reducers, sulfidogens and methanogens whose ability to degrade contaminant chemicals such as pesticides, benzene, toluene, xylenes, alkanes and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) is not well understood. Dr. Young's research group's broad goals are to investigate and understand these diverse communities with respect to their ability to metabolize anthropogenically produced and naturally occurring aromatic compounds. This includes examining complex environmental systems as well as pure cultures in the laboratory. Currently, the specific areas of research include: 1) examining the instrinsic ability of anaerobic communities from NY-NJ Harbor sediments to degrade alkanes and PAHs, and environmental factors which affect the activity; 2) determining the novel microbial chemistry of the anaerobic pathways of naphthalene, methylnapthalene and phenanthrene by active consortia, and that of the alkanes by newly isolated pure cultures; 3) investigating methods to improve or enhance natural rates of biodegradation; 4) developing biochemical markers for assessing intrinsic biodegradation; 5) isolating novel anaerobes able to degrade additional petroleum constituents and other aromatic compounds; 6) characterizing the anaerobic toluene pathway in a denitrifying strain with a molecular genetic approach.

RHINE ED, CD PHELPS & LY YOUNG. 2006. Anaerobic oxidation of arsenite oxidation by novel denitrifying isolates. Environ Microbiol 8:899-908, doi:10.1111/j.1462-2920.2005.00977.x

CALLAGHAN, AV, LM GIEG, KG KROPP, JM SUFLITA & LY YOUNG. 2006. A comparison of alkane metabolism under sulfate-reducing conditions among two isolates and a bacterial consortium. Appl Environ Microbiol 72:4274-4282.

YOUNG LY & CD PHELPS. 2005. Metabolic biomarkers for monitoring in situ anaerobic hydrocarbon degradation. Environ Health Perspectives 113:62-67.

FEDI, S, V TREMAROLI, D SCALA, JR PEREZ-JIMENEZ, F. FAVA, LY YOUNG & D ZANNONI. 2005. T-RFLP analysis of bacterial communities in cyclodextrin-amended bioreactors developed for biodegradation of polychlorinated biphenyls. Res Microbiol 156:201-210.

GALLAGHER E, L McGUINNESS, CD PHELPS, LY YOUNG & LJ KERKHOF. 2005. 13C-carrier DNA shortens the incubation time needed to detect benzoate-utilizing denitrifying bacteria by stable-isotope probing. Appl Environ Microbiol 71:5192-5196.

PEREZ-JIMENEZ JR, CD DeFRAIA, LY YOUNG. 2005. Arsenate respiratory reductase (ArrA) for Strain Y5. Biochem Biophys Res Comm 338:825-829.

RHINE ED, E GARCIA-DOMINGUEZ & LY YOUNG. 2005. Environmental microorganisms can speciate and cycle arsenic. Environ Science & Technol 39:9569-9573.

LIU A, E GARCIA-DOMINGUEZ, ED RHINE & LY YOUNG. 2004 Arsenate reduction coupled to the degradation of aromatic compounds by a new anaerobic isolate. FEMS Microbiol Ecol 48:323-332.

KIM HS, PR JAFFE & LY YOUNG. 2004. Simulating biodegradation of toluene in sand-column experiments at the macroscopic and pore-level scale for aerobic and denitrifying conditions. Adv Water Res 27:335-348.

SHOR LM, W LIANG, KJ ROCKNE, LY YOUNG, GL TAGHON & DS KOSSON. 2003. Intra-aggregate mass transport-limited bioavailability of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons to Mycobacterium strain PC01. Environ Sci Technol 37:1545-1552.

FAVA F, LY YOUNG, G ZANNAROLI. 2003. Microbial reductive dechlorination of pre-existing PCBs and spiked 2,3,4,5,6- pentachlorobiphenyl in anaerobic slurries of a contaminated sediment of Venice Lagoon (Italy). FEMS Microbiology Ecology 44:309-318.

SO CM, CD PHELPS, LY YOUNG. 2003 Anaerobic transformation of alkanes to fatty acids by the sulfate-reducing bacterium, strain Hxd3. Appl & Environ Microbiol 69:3892-3900.

PHELPS CD, J BATTISTELLI & LY YOUNG. 2002. Metabolic biomarkers for monitoring anaerobic naphthalene biodegradation in situ. Environ Microbiol 4:532-537.

ZHANG X, ER SULLIVAN & LY YOUNG. 2001. Aromatic ring reduction in the biodegradation of carboxylated naphthalene by a sulfate reducing consor tium. Biodegradation 11:117-124. 

SO CM & LY Young. 2001. Anaerobic alkane degradation by enriched consortia under four different reducing conditions. Environ Toxicol Chem 20: 473-478. 

PHELPS CD & LY YOUNG. 2001. Anaerobic biodegradation of gasoline components: a review. Advances in Agronomy 70:329-357. 

TOGNA M, J. KAZUMI, S APITZ, V KIRTAY, LY YOUNG. 2001. Effect of sediment toxicity on anaerobic microbial metabolism . Env. Toxicol & Chem. V

SULLIVAN ER, C PHELPS & LY YOUNG. 2001 Anaerobic mineralization of stable isotope labeled 2-methylnaphthalene. Appl. & Env. Microbiol. Vol. 6

PEREZ-JIMENEZ JR, LY YOUNG & LJ KERKHOF. 2001 Molecular characterization of sulfate-reducing bacteria in anaerobic hydrocarbon degrading cons

HACHERL EL, DS KOSSON, LY YOUNG & RM COWAN. 2001. Measurement of iron(III) bioavailability in pure iron oxide minerals and soils using anthra

BOYLE AW, VK KNIGHT, MM HÄGBLOM & LY YOUNG. 1999. Transformation of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid in four marine and estuarine sediments: e

SO CM & LY YOUNG. 1999. Anaerobic degradation of alkanes by a sulfate-reducing bacterium: isolation and characterization. Appl Environ Microb

BOYLE AW, MM HAGGBLOM & LY YOUNG. 1999. Dehalogenation of lindane (g-hexachlorocyclohexane) by anaerobic bacteria from marine sediments and b

SO CM & LY YOUNG. 1999. Initial reactions for anaerobic alkane degradation by the sulfate reducer strain AK-01. Appl Environ Microbiol 65:553

Book YOUNG LY & C CERNIGLIA, editors, 1995. Microbial Degradation and Transformation of Toxic Organic Chemicals. Wiley-Liss,





Environmental Sciences · 14 College Farm Road · New Brunswick, NJ 08901 · 732-932-9800 ·