Joy Doran Peterson

NAME Joy Doran Peterson
TITLE Assistant Professor
DEPARTMENT Faculty of Engineering—Microbiology
PHONE 706-542-4115
FAX 706-542-2674
ADDRESS Biological Sciences Bldg.
University of Georgia
Athens, Georgia 30602
EDUCATION Ph.D., Microbiology and Cell Science, University of Florida
B.S., Health Science, University of Georgia
RESEARCH INTERESTS Bioenergy, biofuels, bioproducts, fermentation, discovery and generation of biocatalysts, ethanol, butanol, value-added chemicals

Joy Doran Peterson


Dr. Joy Doran Peterson is an Assistant Professor in the Microbiology Department and a member of the Faculty of Engineering. Dr. Peterson is recognized as an expert in ethanol production and has given invited seminars at the International Fuel Ethanol Workshop, the Pacific Rim Summit on Biotechnology, the Forest Products Laboratory Smallwood Conference, Georgia Bioenergy Conference, Institute for Biological Engineering, the American Society for Microbiology, the Beet Sugar Development Foundation, the USDA Citrus and Subtropical Products Laboratory,the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, the American Chemical Society, and the International Symposium on Biocatalysis and Biotechnology in Taichung, Taiwan. Dr. Peterson is also the Chair- Elect for the Fermentation Division of the American Society for Microbiology. She has experience with a wide variety of substrates including southern yellow pine, sugar beet cossettes and pulp, sugarcane bagasse, citrus processing wastes, whey, municipal solid waste, corn, corn hulls, corn stover, rice hulls, wheat straw, grasses, sorghum, sweet potatoes, carrot waste and other food processing wastes, to name a few. The conversion of agricultural and forestry residues to liquid fuel and specialty products is the major focus of her research program. She is particularly interested in 1) adding value to agricultural processes, 2) promoting rural economic development, 3) lessening our dependence on fossil fuels, and 4) improving environmental quality.


The general theme of Dr. Peterson's research is the conversion of waste or low value materials into value-added products, including production of liquid fuels from fermentation of waste materials. Dr. Peterson's laboratory has three major specific aims currently being addressed through several ongoing projects. The specific aims of these projects focus on improving enzyme producing fungi, enhancing the capabilities of fermenting organisms, and discovering novel biocatalysts and degradative enzymes. She and her lab then integrates these improvements and new discoveries with chemical and/or physical pretreatments, enzyme digestions, and fermentations for specific applications.

Plant cell walls (lignocelluloses) are composed of cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin, and lignin in varying amounts depending upon the specific type of biomass. A major process hurdle is the cleavage of the bonds holding these components together in a scalable cost efficient manner. Next is ensuring that all of the sugars released are fermented to liquid fuel. Matching the pretreatment regime with the correct cocktail of enzymes and right fermenting organism is essential to designing an economically viable process.


Doran Peterson, J., Cook, D.M., and Sarah K. Brandon. Microbial conversion of sugars from plant biomass to lactic acid or ethanol. Plant Journal.Special Issue: Harnessing plant biomass for biofuels and biomaterials. 54(4):582-592, May.

Peterson, J. Doran, and L. O. Ingram. Respiration in an anaerobic environment with an internal electron acceptor to produce fuel ethanol. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 1125, p. 363-372..

Brandon, S.K., Eiteman, M.A., Patel, K., Richbourg, M.M., Miller, D.J., and Peterson, J. D. 2007. Hydrolysis of Tifton 85 Bermudagrass in a Pressurized Batch Hot Water Reactor. Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology.

Anderson, W.F., Dien, B.S., Brandon, S.K., and Peterson, J.D. Assessment of Bermudagrass and Bunch Grasses as Feedstock for Conversion to Ethanol. Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology. [In press].

Cook, D.M., Henriksen, E.L., Upchurch, R.A., and Peterson, J. D. 2007. Isolation of polymer-degrading bacteria and characterization of the hindgut bacterial community from the detritus-feeding larvae of Tipula abdominalis. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 73, 5683-5686.

Anderson, W.F., J. Peterson, Akin, D. E., W.H. Morrison III. 2005. Enzyme pretreatment of grass lignocellulose for potential high-value co-products and improved fermentable substrate. Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology. Vol 121, Issue 1-3. p. 303-310.

Foster, Brian L., Bruce E. Dale, and Joy B. Doran-Peterson. 2001. Enzymatic hydrolysis of ammonia-treated sugar beet pulp. Applied Biochem. and Biotechnol. 91-93: 269-282.

Doran, J.B., J. Cripe, M. Sutton, and B. Foster. 2000. Fermentations of pectin rich biomass with recombinant bacteria to produce fuel ethanol. Appl. Biochem. Biotechnol. 84-86, 141-142.

Doran, J.B., Aldrich, H.C., and Ingram, L.O. 1994. Saccharification and fermentation of sugar cane bagasse by Klebsiella oxytoca P2 containing chromosomally integrated genes encoding the Zymomonas mobilis ethanol pathway. Biotechnol. Bioengin. 44:240-247.

Ingram, L.O., and Doran, J.B. 1994. Conversion of cellulosic material to ethanol. FEMS Microbiology Reviews. 16:235-241.