Healing Louisiana with LSU “Living Library” of 11,000 Microbes for Bioremediation

January 18, 2022

Partnering with Industry

In 2020, LSU licensed access to a vast library of bioremediation microbes to the environmental services firm Cameron-Cole. The library was developed by Professor Emeritus Ralph Portier over almost 40 years as he and LSU helped private companies as well as local, state, and national government organizations mitigate a wide range of environmental hazards. After Portier’s passing in late 2021, Cameron-Cole continues to build on his legacy in Louisiana and across the globe, helping clients in the manufacturing, petrochemical, construction, waste management, and military industries develop solutions to previously unsolvable problems.
 
Microbes can be used to break down dangerous chemicals and pollutants, including fuels, plastics, herbicides, and pesticides. For most of his career, Portier designed custom bioreactors to do just that, ranging in size from something close to an ink pen to tanks as tall as four-story buildings. He helped remediate several so-called Superfund and RCRA sites, which are designated by the EPA as toxic and in need of cleanup.
 
Portier always emphasized how bioremediation is good business, since companies can’t afford bad reputations or to lose their permits.
 
“These large industrial and chemical plants that we have down here in Louisiana bring great value to our state,” Portier said in 2020. “Jobs are important, and if we can help some of these companies solve environmental problems so they can stay here and expand, that’s great for Louisiana.”

Perfect pink house surrounded by pollution

“Louisiana is the optimal place to learn about pollution,” Portier said in 2020. “I’d always tell my students; within a 25-mile radius of LSU, we have every toxin known to man.”

– LSU

“With 30 active remediation projects, including a number in Louisiana, we continue to use Ralph’s platform as an opportunity to grow and develop new technologies. Cameron-Cole, our clients, and LSU have demonstrated time and time again that we are committed to preserving and broadening access to Ralph’s lifelong work of using proprietary targeted microbial applications to transform specific contaminants into harmless compounds. These are challenging problems that we’re working to solve, and Cameron-Cole’s clients rely on us for answers they can’t find from other environmental consulting companies. Ralph was a true pioneer in microbe technology, and as we recently merged with a global organization, ADEC Innovations, his work is starting to get further traction as a viable, scalable solution to heal the planet.”

- Jerome Edwards, president of Cameron-Cole, LLC, an ADEC Innovation company