An official website of the United States government.

This is not the current EPA website. To navigate to the current EPA website, please go to This website is historical material reflecting the EPA website as it existed on January 19, 2021. This website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work. More information »

Wendy Jo Davis-Hoover

Wendy Jo Davis-Hoover

National Risk Management Research Laboratory

Dr. Davis-Hoover’s inventions include numerous soil remediation technologies for cleaning up hazardous waste sites.  Her technologies utilize microbes to degrade pollutants. 

Dr. Davis-Hoover’s technology utilizing Thermophilic Methanotrophs for high temperature oxidations consists of a group of aerobic microorganisms known as methanotrophs, which have previously been used to degrade organic contaminants.  This group of organisms produces monooxygenases which oxidize methane and, in the absence of methane, after the enzyme has been produced, will incidentally oxidize other compounds such as halogenated hydrocarbons, alkanes, alcohols, etc., in particular, trichloroethylene (TCE).  The methanotrophs subject to this invention are thermophilic, favoring warmer temperatures in the range of 50-80 degrees Celsius.

Another technology reduces the bio-availability of lead by lead-sequestering bacteria. This invention uses Pseudomonas to sequester lead (and other heavy metals) from soil and water in the presence of phosphate.  Lead is rendered insoluble and no longer bioavailable.  This technology can be used to remediate lead and other heavy metals from the environment.

Looking at the opposite side of the coin, another invention provides for a growth medium for lead uptake studies of Pseudomonas using phosphorous compounds which do NOT precipitate lead, leaving Pb+2 bioavailable.   This culture medium can be used to study the effects of lead in the environment.

For biodegredation of hydrocarbons and ethers in subsurface soil, the inventor created a solid oxygen source (SOS) to grow aerobic bacteria not naturally occurring in the subsurface (predominantly Pseudomonas) for the purpose of degrading gasoline additives, such as BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene) and methyl-t-butylether (MTBE) in the subsurface.  The SOS and microorganisms are introduced into the subsurface using hydraulic fracturing.


  • Process for the biodegradation of hydrocarbons and ethers in subsurface soil by introduction of a solid oxygen source by hydraulic fracturing:  US Patent #7,252,986
  • Medium for Cultivating Microorganisms:  US Patent #6,489,157 
  • Method for reducing Bio-Availability of Lead by a Lead-Sequestering Soil Bacterium:  US Patent #6,300,121 
  • Thermophilic Methanotrophs for High Temperature Oxidations:  US Patent #5,858,763   

Return to Women of Technology Transfer home page