William B. Whitman

NAME William B. Whitman
TITLE Professor and Head, Microbiology
DEPARTMENT Department of Microbiology
PHONE 706-542-4219
FAX 706-542-2674
ADDRESS 541 Biological Science Building
University of Georgia
Athens, Georgia 30602-2605
EMAIL whitman@uga.edu
EDUCATION Ph.D, University of Texas at Austin
B.S., SUNY at Stony Brook
RESEARCH INTERESTS Bacterial physiology and systematics, methane-producing archaea

W.B. Whitman


My laboratory has studied the methane-producing bacteria since I came to Georgia in 1982. In the last 25 years, our research has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the US Department of Energy, and we have published greater than 50 research papers and 20 reviews on these microorganisms. At one time or another, my laboratory has studied a wide range of topics concerning their nutrition, physiology, biochemistry, genetics and systematics. Currently, we are using methanogens to develop methods for biological H2 production, to selectively remove inhibitors from the cellulosic hydrolysates used in the ethanol fermentation, and to investigate it as a model organism for disease. As energy becomes more expensive, methanogens have great potential for biotechnological applications as well as waste treatment. In the biofuels arena, it has immediate application in the coproduction of methane with ethanol from biomass. In these processes, 20-30% of the energy from the biomass might actually be derived from methane.


Hendrickson, E.L., A.K. Haydock, B.C. Moore, W.B. Whitman, and J.A. Leigh. 2007. Functionally distinct genes regulated by hydrogen limitation and growth rate in methanogenic Archaea. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 104: 8930-8934.

Porat, I., W. Kim, E.L. Hendrickson, Q. Xia, Y. Zhang, T. Wang, F. Taub, B.C. Moore, I.J. Anderson, M. Hackett, J.A. Leigh, and W.B. Whitman (2006) Disruption of the Ehb hydrogenase operon limits anabolic CO2 assimilation in the archaeon Methanococcus maripaludis. J. Bacteriol. 188: 1373-1380.

Xia, Q., E.L. Hendrickson, Y. Zhang, T. Wang, F. Taub, B.C. Moore, I. Porat, W.B. Whitman, M. Hackett, and J.A. Leigh. 2006. Quantitative proteomics of the archaeon Methanococcus maripaludis validated by microarray analysis and real time PCR. Mol. Cell. Proteomics 5: 868-881.

Howard, E.C., J.R. Henriksen, A. Buchan, C.R. Reisch, H. BŸergmann, R. Welsh, W. Ye, J.M. Gonz‡lez, K. Mace, S.B. Joye, R.P. Kiene, W.B. Whitman, and M.A. Moran. 2006. Identification of the bacterial gene limiting sulfur flux from surface seawater. Science 314: 649-652.

Porat, I., M. Sieprawska-Lupa, Q. Teng, F.J. Bohanon, R.H. White, and W.B. Whitman. 2006. Biochemical and genetic characterization of an early step in a novel pathway for the biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids and p-aminobenzoic acid in the archaeon Methanococcus maripaludis. Mol. Microbiol. 62: 1117-1132.

Kendall, M.M., Y. Liu, M. Sieprawska-Lupa, K.O. Stetter, W.B. Whitman, and D.R. Boone. 2006. Methanococcus aeolicus sp. nov., a mesophilic, methanogenic archaeon from shallow and deep marine sediments. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 56: 1525-1529.

Yuan, J., S. Palioura, J.C. Salazar, D. Su, P. OĠDonoghue, M.J. Hohn, A.M. Cardoso, W.B. Whitman, and D. Sšll. 2006. RNA-dependent conversion of phosphoserine forms selenocysteine in eukaryotes and archaea. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 103:18923-18927.

Ding, Y., K.C. Das, W.B. Whitman, and J.R. Kastner. 2006. Enhanced biofiltration of hydrogen sulfide in the presence of methanol and resultant bacterial diversity. Transactions of the ASABE (American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers) 49:2051-2059.

Sauerwald, A., W. Zhu, T.A. Major, H. Roy, S. Palioura, D. Jahn, W.B. Whitman, J.R. Yates 3rd, M. Ibba, and D. Sšll (2005) RNA-dependent cysteine biosynthesis in archaea. Science 307: 1969-1972.

Kim, W., T.A. Major, and W.B. Whitman. (2005) Role of the precorrin 6-X reductase gene in cobamide biosynthesis in Methanococcus maripaludis. Archaea 1, 375-384.