The research in my laboratory is mainly in the area of microbial metabolism, focussed on applied and environmental microbiology. In recent years we have studied the production and uses of a variety of bacterial and fungal metabolites, including fungal peroxidases.
Our current studies are focussed on the metabolism of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which are environmental pollutants produced by natural (forest fire) and anthropogenic (creosote, wood preservative) means, using laccases and manganese peroxidases from white rot fungi. In the biosphere these enzymes are primarily involved in lignin breakdown. We are searching for new enzyme forms which are more resistant to chemical inactivation or degradation and which are more stable to temperature and pH, for use in pollutant metabolism. One source of our fungal strains is the University of Alberta Microfungus Collection.