Dr. Babu Fathepure

EPSCoR Research Focus: 
Variable & Marginal Quality Water Supplies
Assoc. Professor
Dept. of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
Oklahoma State University
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B.S. | Chemistry | Karnatak University, Dharwad, India | 1976
M.S. | Biochemistry | Karnatak University, Dharwad, India | 1978
Ph.D. | Environ. Microbiology | Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India | 1985
Research Interests: 

Dr. Babu Fathepure, professor of microbiology and molecular genetics at Oklahoma State University, is a member of the OK NSF EPSCoR Track-1 RII Award titled Socially Sustainable Solutions for Water, Carbon, and Infrastructure Resilience in Oklahoma. The $20 million research project is a social science-led, multi-disciplinary collaboration among social, physical, biological, engineering, and computational scientists. More than thirty researchers from across the state are working together on the project, which began July 1, 2020. 

Dr. Fathepure's research supports the project's Focus Area 3: Variable and Marginal Quality Water Supplies (V-MQW). The V-MQW Supplies focus area addresses issues surrounding Oklahoma’s water demands, which are projected to increase 600,000 acre-feet per year between 2007-2060. Reliable water supplies are needed to provide for these demands while meeting the state’s goal of capping freshwater use to 2010 levels. However, freshwater supplies are declining due to reservoir sedimentation and groundwater overdraft and are increasingly vulnerable to S2S variability. Concurrently, volumes of oil and gas ‘produced water,’ municipal wastewater, and stormwater are increasing with continued oil and gas development and urbanization. Disposal of produced waters has been correlated with seismicity, potentially impacting infrastructure and resulting in energy production curtailment in some regions. The challenge is finding a mix of solutions that allow Oklahoma’s diverse array of MQW to be economically treated for beneficial use to address water scarcity related to changing seasonal to subseasonal weather patterns, waste disposal, and infrastructure risk while supporting continued energy production and economic growth. 

Dr. Fathepure’s Research Focus

Bioremediation is a promising biological approach for the remediation of contaminated sites. However, real-world application of this technology is limited by the incomplete understanding of the fundamentals of microbial processes that govern the fate of environmental pollutants. Chlorinated solvents and petroleum hydrocarbons are common soil and groundwater pollutants. Cost-effective and innovative remediation methods are needed for treating these contaminants. In this context, my research efforts are focused on the biodegradation of chlorinated and petroleum hydrocarbons using innovative microbial processes.

Learn more about the OK NSF EPSCoR research project.

Key Publications: 
  • Adetitun, D.O., Fathepure, B.Z., Kolawole, O., Olayemi, A., Hugh, H (2018). Degradation of hydrocarbons and lignin-like compounds by Alcaligenes sp. strain 3k isolated from Ilorin. Pollution 5: 269-277
  • Paniagua-Michel, J., Fathepure, B.Z (2018). Microbial consortia and biodegradation of petroleum hydrocarbons in marine environments. In: Microbial Action on Hydrocarbons (1-20). V Kumar, M Kumar, and R Prasad (Eds). Springer Singapore.
  • Adetitun, D.O., Olayemi, A.B., Kolawole, O.M., Fathepure, B.Z (2016). Molecular identification of hydrocarbon degrading bacteria isolated from alfisol-loam experimentally contaminated with gasoline. Biokemistri. 28: 135-143.
  • Dalvi, S., Youssef, N.H., Fathepure, B.Z (2016). Microbial community structure analysis of a benzoate-degrading halophilic archaeal enrichment. Extremophiles. 20: 311-321.
  • Fathepure, B.Z (2015). Recent studies in microbial degradation of petroleum hydrocarbons in hypersaline environments. In: Proceedings of Halophiles 2013: The international congress on halophilic microorganisms. R. Thane Papke, Aharon Oren, Antonio Ventosa and Jesse G. Dillon (Eds). Published in Frontiers in Microbiology. pp 35-50.
  • Heenan, J., Slater, L. D., Ntarlagiannis, D., Atekwana, E.A., Fathepure, B.Z., Dalvi, S., Ross, C., Werkema, D.D., and Atekwana, E.A (2015). Electric resistivity imaging for long-term autonomous monitoring of hydrocarbon degradation: Lessons from the deepwater horizon oil spill. Geophysics 80 (1).
  • Fathepure, B. Z. (2014). Recent studies in microbial degradation of petroleum hydrocarbons in hypersaline environments. Front Microbiol 5:173.
  • Dalvi, S., Azetsu, S., Patrauchan, M.A., Aktas, D.F., and B. Z. Fathepure (2012). Proteogenomic elucidation of the initial steps in the benzene degradation pathway of a novel halophile, Arhodomonas sp. strain Rozel, isolated from a hypersaline environment. Appl Environ Microbiol 78: 7309-7316.
  • Sei, A. and Fathepure, B. Z (2009). Biodegradation of BTEX at high salinity by an enrichment culture from hypersaline sediments of Rozel Point at Great Salt Lake. J Appl Microbiol 107(6):2001-2008.
  • Elango, V. K., Liggenstoffer, A. S., and Fathepure, B.Z (2006). Biodegradation of vinyl chloride and cis-dichloroethene by a Ralstonia sp. strain TRW-1. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 72: 1270-1275.
Curriculum Vitae: