Rittmann, Lindsay featured in AzStar’s “Centennial salute to science”

July 24, 2012

Reporter Tom Beal from Tucson’s Arizona Daily Star recently highlighted Biodesign researchers Stuart Lindsay and Bruce Rittmann for their research achievements with their inclusion in the “Centennial Salute to Science.”

From his stories, Beal writes:
“The Arizona Daily Star's Centennial salute to science in Arizona runs all summer. For 100 days, we'll record a milestone in the state's scientific history.

Bruce Rittmann

Stuart Lindsay

Stuart Lindsay is an Arizona State University physicist whose invention of instruments that precisely image and measure elements in water led him into the biological realm where his technology may one day provide faster, easier, personalized treatment of disease.

Lindsay said his principal satisfaction so far comes from creating a company in Tempe that grew to employ 67 engineers, scientists and technicians before being acquired by Agilent Technologies, which tripled the size of the manufacturing facility and kept it in the Phoenix area at a research park in Chandler.

"It's not a scientific accomplishment, but I think I'm most proud of the fact that our technology is commercialized and provided a lot of jobs," Lindsay said.”

And in the Rittmann feature, Beal continues:

“Bruce Rittmann spends his time managing microbial communities.

Microbes are abundant organisms, too small to see without a microscope. The four main classes are bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa. Some, the ones we call "germs," can hurt us. Most are mostly benign and some are downright helpful.

Rittmann found a way to employ certain bacteria in cleaning up pollution.

His process works on an entire class of hazardous substances such as nitrate, perchlorate and trichloroethylene.

Rittmann's "hydrogen-based membrane biofilm reactor" feeds hydrogen to the bacteria, which causes them to deliver electrons to the polluting substances. "Bacteria will happily dump those electrons and transform the substances into something completely harmless," he said.

Perchlorate, for example, transforms into chloride ions and water in the process.

"It's a really simple concept once you figure it out," Rittmann said.
Rittmann's pollution-cleaning technology, for which he holds five patents, is being used to clean up polluted sites by APTwater, Inc.”

Reporter Tom Beal covers topics from the cosmos to the invisible world of nanotechnology on the Scientific Bent blog at

100 days of science: ASU physicist focuses on the small stuff

100 days of science: Bacteria found to clean up pollution

Related links:

Lindsay helps address DNA sequencing challenges in Nature Biotechnology review

Lindsay receives White House honors for innovative "Recovery Act" research

Big book explores a small world: Stuart Lindsay’s guide to nanoscience

Single-molecule chemical analysis for DNA sequencing

Invention to remove water contaminants earns Rittmann engineering award

Biodesign’s Rittmann offers fresh perspectives on society’s energy challenge

Rittmann receives top research award from the Arizona BioIndustry Association

Bookmark and Share