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Edward J. O’Loughlin

Senior Biogeochemist

Ed O’Loughlin is an environmental chemist/environmental microbiologist specializing in the biogeochemical processes controlling the cycling of major/minor elements and the fate and transport of contaminants in natural systems.


Ed O’Loughlin is an environmental chemist/environmental microbiologist specializing in the biogeochemical processes controlling the cycling of major/minor elements and the fate and transport of contaminants in natural systems.

Ed’s research intersects several major disciplines, including environmental microbiology, environmental chemistry, and geology. He has been studying biogeochemical processes in aquatic and terrestrial systems for nearly 31 years, the last 18 of which have been with the Biogeochemical Processes Group in the Biosciences Division at Argonne.

Ed’s current research focuses on the effects of microbial transformations of carbon, iron, and sulfur on the fate and transport of uranium and mercury in subsurface environments. He is also focused on investigating microbial contributions to the release of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from aquatic and terrestrial environments.

His previous research efforts have investigated the biotic (microbial) and abiotic (chemical) transformations of organic and inorganic contaminants, including chlorinated solvents (PCE, TCE, carbon tetrachloride, etc.), organotin biocides (tributyltin), aromatic N-heterocycles (pyridine, quinolone, etc.), heavy metals (mercury, copper, chromium), and radionuclides (uranium). Ed has also studied microbial processes controlling the biogeochemical cycling of carbon, sulfur and iron and has extensive experience in the characterization of natural organic matter, particularly humic and fulvic acids.


Ph.D., Environmental Chemistry, Ohio State University

M.S., Environmental Microbiology, Ohio State University

B.S., Biology, Cleveland State University

Awards, Honors & Memberships

  • National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Member of the American Chemical Society
  • Member of the American Society for Microbiology
  • Member of the American Geophysical Union
  • Member of the International Humic Substances Society
  • Member of the International Society for Subsurface Microbiology
  • Member of the Mineralogical Society of America

Selected Publications

O’Loughlin, E. J., M. I. Boyanov, D. A. Antonopoulos, and K. M. Kemner. (2011). Redox processes affecting the speciation of technetium, uranium, neptunium, and plutonium in aquatic and terrestrial environments. In Aquatic Redox Processes; P.G. Tratnyek, T. J. Grundl, and S. Haderlein, Eds. American Chemical Society, Washington DC, pp 477-517, DOI: 10.1021/bk-2011-1071.ch022.

Kwon, M. J., E. J. O’Loughlin, D. Antonopoulos, and K. T. Finneran. (2011). Geochemical and microbiological processes contributing to the transformation of hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX) in contaminated aquifer material. Chemosphere 84:1223-1230.

O’Loughlin, E. J., C. Gorski, M. M. Scherer, M. I. Boyanov, and K. M. Kemner. (2010). Effects of oxyanions, natural organic matter, and bacterial cell density on the bioreduction of lepidocrocite (γ‑FeOOH) and secondary mineral formation. Environ. Sci. Technol. 44(12):4570-4576.

O’Loughlin, E. J. (2008). Effects of electron transfer mediators on the bioreduction of lepidocrocite (g-FeOOH) by Shewanella putrefaciens CN32. Environ. Sci. Technol.42(18):6876-6882.

O’Loughlin, E.J., Y.-P. Chin. (2004). Quantification and characterization of sedimentary porewater dissolved organic carbon and iron from Green Bay, WI, USA. Biogeochem. 71(3):371-386.

Kemner, K. M., S. D. Kelly, B. Lai, J. Maser, E. J. O’Loughlin, D. Sholto-Douglas, Z. Cai, M. A. Schneegurt, C. F. Kulpa, and K. H. Nealson. (2004). X-ray microbeam analysis of bacteria: Elemental and redox determination of single cells. Science 306:686-687.

O’Loughlin, E.J., S.D. Kelly, R.E. Cook, R. Csencsits and K.M. Kemner. 2003. Reduction of uranium(VI) by mixed Fe(II)/Fe(III) hydroxide (green rust): Formation of UO2 nanoparticles. Environ. Sci. Technol. 37: 721-727.

O’Loughlin, E.J., Y.-P. Chin, and S.J. Traina. 2000. Association of organotin compounds with aquatic and terrestrial humic substances. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 19: 2015-2021.

O’Loughlin, E. J., D. R. Burris, and C. A. Delcomyn. 1999. Reductive dechlorination of trichloroethene mediated by humic-metal complexes. Environ. Sci. Technol. 33: 1145-1147.

O’Loughlin, E.J., G.K. Sims, and S.J. Traina. 1999. Biodegradation of 2-methyl, 2-ethyl, and 2-hydroxypyridine by an Arthrobacter sp. isolated from subsurface sediment. Biodegradation 10: 93-104.

Chin, Y. P., G. Aiken, and E. O’Loughlin. 1994. Molecular weight, polydispersivity, and spectroscopic properties of aquatic humic substances. Environ. Sci. Technol. 28: 1853-1858.