PNNL: Microbes, from Grass to Glass

a presentation by Jacqueline R. Hager
Tuesday, September 12
Via Zoom at 5pm


Many of our planet’s terrestrial ecosystems rely on the interactions between soil, water, and microbes. While the microbial contributions may be less obvious, they play a critical role in maintaining the balance of this system. Microbes recycle nutrients, such as carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus, which can impact the global carbon cycle. They can form symbiotic relationships with plants that promote crop growth, and some can even transform harmful pollutants to less toxic or less mobile forms. To survive in a wide range of environments, microbes assemble into dynamic communities, which can adapt as their local conditions change.
However, the presence of man-made materials within the soil ecosystem creates a niche environment that provides an opportunity to study how microbes colonize new materials. Microbial colonization of man-made materials has relevance for a range of applications, such as archeological preservation and storage of nuclear waste glass in near-surface disposal facilities. This presentation will describe recent studies characterizing the biogeochemical processes at a pre-Viking vitrified hillfort in Sweden, specifically focusing on the microbial interactions with the site’s glassy material over the past 1,500 years. These “analogue” studies provided a basis for a series of on-going biocorrosion experiments to investigate the mechanisms underpinning microbe-glass interactions and to determine whether microbes act as a protective or corrosive agent that can impact long-term glass durability.


About the Community Science and Technology Seminar Series
These lectures are presented via Zoom, at 5pm, on the dates listed, call the number below for additional information.

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Community Science and Technology Seminar Series was launched to help the public better understand and explore how science transforms our world. For more information, and how to register, call (509) 375-6871 or visit PNNL’s event page here


Sep 12 2023


5:00 PM




(509) 375-6871