Environmental Microbiology Laboratory

3 Environ images lite box, pipette, soil sample

WRRC Environmental Microbiology Laboratory (Holmes 182; Marek Kirs, kirs@hawaii.edu)

Extensively renovated and updated in 2004, this laboratory is capable of performing a wide variety of microbiological and selected molecular biological analyses, and is actively involved in the development of novel analytical methods. Cultivation-based and molecular microbiological assays are used in parallel to tackle water quality issues applicable in the Hawaiian Islands and beyond.

The laboratory contains a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) thermal cycler to amplify segments of DNA; electrophoresis equipment for analyses of DNA and RNA; four Portable Multiuse Automated Concentration Systems (PMACS), which are able to capture the smallest virus from large water samples; and an epifluoresence (Labophot, Nikon) and inverted (Axiovert A1, Zeiss) research microscopes to study microorganisms.

The standard microbiological laboratory equipment is also available. These apparatuses include an autoclave, a biological safety hood, aerobic and anaerobic incubators, Quanti-Tray sealers, Qbit 2.0 fluorometer, beadbeater, water baths, microscopes, membrane filtration apparatus, tabletop centrifuges, UV tables, shakers, and storage refrigerators.

View Kirs Lab: http://www2.hawaii.edu/~kirs/index.htm

Laboratory Projects

  • Fecal indicators and their associated health risk in American Samoaʼs Watersheds (funded by WRIP/USGS)
  • Fecal indicators and associated health risk in Hawaiiʼs recreational waters: A quantitative Microbial risk assessment study (funded by HDOH)
  • The microbiological water quality of Oahu beaches (funded by HDOH)
  • Biological and sediment monitoring program on specific marine communities near the Cityʼs ocean sewer outfalls (funded by CCH)
  • Evaluation of pepper mild mottle viruses as a sewage marker in Hawaii (funded by WRIP/USGS)
  • Microbiological Water Quality of Ko Olina Lagoons (funded by HDOH)
  • Rapid Response: Application of a qPCR based test for enterococci as a rapid beach management tool in Hawaii (funded by Sea Grant/NOAA)
  • Microbial communities and sources of bacteria in Honoluluʼs drinking water supply (funded by WRIP/USGS)
  • Assessing recharge mechanisms of groundwater under the influence of surface water with isotopic and microbiological tracers, Tutuila, American Samoa (funded by WRIP/USGS)
  • High-energy low-chemical wastewater treatment systems for production of energy and reuse water (funded by WRIP/USGS)
  • Evaluation of rapid QPCR method for enterococci with correlative assessment for molecular markers for sewage contamination in selected environmental water samples from Hawaii (funded by WRIP/USGS)
  • Application of Portable Multi-use Automated Concentration System (PMACS) for detection and quantification of indicator bacteria, microbial source tracking markers and human pathogens in Hawaii (funded by WRIP/USGS, HI DOH)
  • Rainwater harvesting in American Samoa: Current practices and health risks (funded by WRIP/USGS)
  • Characterization of microbial communities from wastewater plants and selected beaches of Hawaii (funded by WRIP/USGS)
  • Sustainable landscape for highways: Evaluation of recycled and waste materials as soil amendments (funded by DLNR)
  • Development of an enhanced groundwater vulnerability tool in Hawaii for pharmaceuticals (funded by HI DOH)