General Lab Information

Arokiasamy Francis

Scientist Emeritus, EE Sci Emeritus, Environmental and Climate Sciences Department

Arokiasamy Francis

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Environmental and Climate Sciences Department
Bldg. 490D
P.O. Box 5000
Upton, NY 11973-5000

(631) 344-4534
ajfrancis@bnl.gov

Microbiologist Arokiasamy J. (A.J.) Francis, retired from the Environmental & Climate Sciences Department in 2011 and was named Scientist Emeritus in 2012. During his nearly 37 years at Brookhaven National Laboratory, he has concentrated on the realm of microbial interactions with organic and inorganic contaminants — and their remediation. Francis’ investigations have ranged from nitrogen cycling and the control of nitrate pollution to the transformation of radioactive contaminants in the environment. The latter became his primary research focus, taking shape in many different projects, including his groundbreaking work with the use of citric acid to sequester uranium from contaminated soils, wastes and materials.

Francis first came to Brookhaven in 1975 as a microbiologist on a project to remove nitrate from wastewater and prevent ground and surface water contamination. The project’s funding was not renewed, but Francis found his footing in a new realm of interest, in which he studied how microbes transformed radionuclides and toxic materials found in nuclear energy and fossil-fuel wastes.

Expertise | Research | Education | Appointments | Publications


Expertise

  • Microbial transformations of radionuclides, toxic metals, and organic compounds in wastes and in subsurface environments
  • Biodegradation of organic-metal/radionuclide complexes, pesticides and organic pollutants
  • Nitrogen transformation in soils
  • Microbial gas generation from radioactive wastes
  • Bioremediation of radionuclides and toxic metals contaminated soils and wastes
  • Decontamination of radionuclide contaminated steels and materials

Research Activities

  • Organized a round table symposium on "Microbial Aspects of Transuranic and other Radioactive Wastes" (convener), American Society for Microbiology
  • Previous experience at Stanford Research Institute involved studies on the microbiological degradation of military standard pesticide formulations, and at Cornell University on symbiotic nitrogen fixation in legumes and life detection (exobiology) by GC-MS of microbial metabolites
  • Consultant to: FAO of U.N. in Agricultural and Environmental Microbiology
  • Directorate of Plant Protection, Ministry of Agriculture, India, under Indo-U.S. Aid Program; UNDP-TOKTEN Project
  • Advisory Panel member, WIPP Program-Sandia National Laboratory; Member of the Board of Examiners, Ph.D. degree, Napier College, Edinburgh, U.K.
  • Annamalai University, India; Bharathiar University, India
  • Team member, DOE Biotechnology Team, RDDT & E Five-Year Plan. Invited participant and contributor to U.S. DOE Office of Energy Research (DOE/ER-0482T, 1990; DOE/ER-0492T, 1991)
  • Invited participant of the European group MIND (Microbiology in Nuclear Waste Disposal)
  • Technical Committee Member, IAEA on "Advanced Technologies for Treatment of Low and Intermediate Low-level Radioactive Liquid Wastes."
  • Invited participant at the Microbiology of Nuclear Waste Disposal Concept Tutorial, Scientific Review Group, Canada, 1993. 
  • Invited speaker at the Actinides '93 Conference, Santa Fe, NM, 1993
  • Invited key speaker NATO ARW on Biotechnologies for Radioactive and Toxic Waste Management and Site Restoration, Mol, Belgium, 1994
  • Invited speaker at the Actinides '97 International Conference, Baden-Baden, Germany, 1997
  • Foreign Distinguished Scientist Inviting Program, Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute, March 28-April 28, 1998 and September 1-30, 2000
  • Consultant to Nuclear Fuel Industries, Ltd., (NFI), Tokai, Japan (1999)
  • Advisor: Actinide Migration Evaluation (AME) Group, The Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site, Rocky Flats, CO (2000-present)
  • Scientific Advisor, Advanced Science Research Center, Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute, Tokai, Japan

Education

  • Cornell University, Ph.D., Microbiology
  • Annamalai University, M.Sc., Soil Microbiology; B.Sc., Agriculture

Professional Appointments

  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, State University of New York, at Stony Brook
  • American Society for Microbiology
  • Korean Nuclear Society
  • American Chemical Society

Selected Publications

  • Francis AJ (2014) Microbes affect the speciation of various uranium compounds in wastes and soils. Uranium - Past and Future Challenges 333–346. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-11059-2_39
  • Francis AJ, Dodge CJ (2015) Microbial mobilization of plutonium and other actinides from contaminated soil. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity 150:277–285. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2015.08.019
  • Francis AJ, Nancharaiah YV (2015) In situ and ex situ bioremediation of radionuclide-contaminated soils at nuclear and norm sites. Environmental Remediation and Restoration of Contaminated Nuclear and Norm Sites 185–236. doi: 10.1016/b978-1-78242-231-0.00009-0
  • Le TT, Nguyen K-H, Jeon J-R, Francis AJ, Chang Y-S (2015) Nano/bio treatment of polychlorinated biphenyls with evaluation of comparative toxicity. Journal of Hazardous Materials 287:335–341. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2015.02.001
  • Nancharaiah YV, Francis AJ (2015) Hormetic effect of ionic liquid 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate on bacteria. Chemosphere 128:178–183. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2015.01.032
  • Choung S, Um W, Choi S, Francis AJ, Kim S, Park J beak, Kim S-H (2014) Biogeochemical changes at early stage after the closure of radioactive waste geological repository in South Korea. Annals of Nuclear Energy 71:6–10. doi: 10.1016/j.anucene.2014.03.021
  • Zhang C, Malhotra SV, Francis AJ (2014) Toxicity of ionic liquids to Clostridium sp. and effects on uranium biosorption. Journal of Hazardous Materials 264:246–253. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2013.11.003
  • Gao W, Francis AJ (2013) Fermentation and Hydrogen Metabolism Affect Uranium Reduction by Clostridia. ISRN Biotechnology 2013:1–11. doi: 10.5402/2013/657160
  • Izaurralde RC, Rice CW, Wielopolski L, Ebinger MH, Reeves JB, Thomson AM, Harris R, Francis B, Mitra S, Rappaport AG, Etchevers JD, Sayre KD, Govaerts B, McCarty GW (2013) Evaluation of Three Field-Based Methods for Quantifying Soil Carbon. PLoS ONE 8:e55560. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0055560
  • Thakur P, Conca JL, Dodge CJ, Francis AJ, Choppin GR (2013) Complexation thermodynamics and structural studies of trivalent actinide and lanthanide complexes with DTPA, MS-325 and HMDTPA. Radiochimica Acta 101:221–232. doi: 10.1524/ract.2013.2018
  • Zhang C, Dodge CJ, Malhotra SV, Francis AJ (2013) Bioreduction and precipitation of uranium in ionic liquid aqueous solution by Clostridium sp. Bioresource Technology 136:752–756. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2013.03.085
  • Francis AJ (2012) Impacts of microorganisms on radionuclides in contaminated environments and waste materials. Radionuclide Behaviour in the Natural Environment 161–225. doi: 10.1533/9780857097194.1.161
  • Yarlagadda VN, Gupta A, Dodge CJ, Francis AJ (2012) Effect of exogenous electron shuttles on growth and fermentative metabolism in Clostridium sp. BC1. Bioresource Technology 108:295–299. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2011.12.040
  • Venkata Nancharaiah Y, Francis AJ (2011) Alkyl-methylimidazolium ionic liquids affect the growth and fermentative metabolism of Clostridium sp. Bioresource Technology 102:6573–6578. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2011.03.042
  • Nancharaiah YV, Dodge C, Venugopalan VP, Narasimhan SV, Francis AJ (2010) Immobilization of Cr(VI) and Its Reduction to Cr(III) Phosphate by Granular Biofilms Comprising a Mixture of Microbes. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 76:2433–2438. doi: 10.1128/aem.02792-09
  • Ohnuki T, Kozai N, Sakamoto F, Ozaki T, Nankawa T, Suzuki Y, Francis AJ (2010) Association of Actinides with Microorganisms and Clay: Implications for Radionuclide Migration from Waste-Repository Sites. Geomicrobiology Journal 27:225–230. doi: 10.1080/01490450903456715
  • Um W, Icenhower JP, Brown CF, Serne RJ, Wang Z, Dodge CJ, Francis AJ (2010) Characterization of uranium-contaminated sediments from beneath a nuclear waste storage tank from Hanford, Washington: Implications for contaminant transport and fate. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 74:1363–1380. doi: 10.1016/j.gca.2009.11.014
Arokiasamy Francis

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Environmental and Climate Sciences Department
Bldg. 490D
P.O. Box 5000
Upton, NY 11973-5000

(631) 344-4534
ajfrancis@bnl.gov