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Michelle Walton

Principal Scientist

Research Areas:
Critical Materials; Biological Processing


Michelle R. Walton has more than 26 years of laboratory experience in environmental microbiology. After graduating from Idaho State University in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in microbiology and a minor in chemistry she served an internship with Associated Western Universities in the Biotechnology Unit at INL. She was hired at INL in 1990. She designed and implemented experiments using microorganisms for bioremediation technologies, conducted research on the use of gas phase bioreactors for the biodegradation of volatile organic compounds and combustion gases using bacteria grown in the gas phase which led to an R&D100 award. As a senior scientist for Lockheed Idaho Technologies Co she performed experiments on the biodegradation of other volatile organics such as α-pinene, methanol, and carbon tetrachloride. Since November 1996 she has been a principal scientist (SE003 Scientist) at the Idaho National Laboratory. Her expertise includes the isolation and cultivation of microbes—including mesophilic and thermophilic acidophiles (such as Alicyclobacillus), anaerobes, bacteria, fungi, archaea, and algae. She has experience in the use of molecular techniques to monitor microbial populations, and experience using enzyme assays to determine enzyme activity on various carbohydrate substrates.  The last few years she has worked on chemical pre-treatment and enzymatic hydrolysis of biomass.  She also has experience working in the laboratory under BSL-2 (biosafety level 2) guidelines.


​B.S., Microbiology - Idaho State University

Fox, SL, MR Walton. 2016.  Performance Assessment of Select Organisms.  External Report.  STI ID:  INL/LTD-1637738.

Fox, SL, MR Walton. 2014.  Screening Thermoacidophilic Organisms.  External Report.  STI ID:  INL/EXT-14-33722.

Fox, SL, MR Walton. 2013.  Characterizing Thermoacidophilic Bacteria.  External Report.  STI ID:  INL/LTC-13-30339.
Lee, BD, WA Apel, J Aston, MR Walton, R Carlson.  2011.  Potential for Production of Metabolites by Alicyclobacillus acidocaldarius.  SIM 2011 Annual Meeting.  STI ID:  INL/CON-11-22122.

Lee, BD,  WA Apel, and MR Walton.  2006.  Whitings as a Potential Mechanism for Controlling Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Concentrations – Final Project Report.  OSTI ID:  911640.

Lee, BD,  WA Apel, and MR Walton.  2006.   Calcium carbonate formation by Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 8806 and Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 8807.  Bioresource Technology.  97(18):  2427-2434.

Lee BD, MR Walton, and JL Megio.  2005.  Biological and chemical interactions with U(VI) during anaerobic enrichment in the presence of iron oxide coated quartz .  Water Research.  39(18):   4363-4374.

Lee, B. D., WA Apel, and MR Walton.  2004.  Carbon Dioxide Sequestration by Synechococcus sp. Strain PCC 8806.   In Proceedings of the Third Annual Conference on Carbon Capture and Sequestration.

Lee, B D, WA Apel, and MR Walton.  2004.  Screening of Cyanobacterial Species for Calcification.   Biotechnol. Prog. 20(5): 1345-1351.

Lee, B D, WA Apel, and MR Walton.  2003.  Preliminary Evidence for the Use of Gas Phase Bioreactors Containing Cyanobacteria for the Conversion of Carbon Dioxide in Flue Gas.  Proceedings of the 96th Annual Conference and Exhibition of the Air and Waste Management Association. Paper No. 69602, San Diego, CA. June 2003.  

Keener,  WK, KD Schaller, MR Walton, JK Partin, ME Watwood, WA Smith, SR Clingenpeel.  2001.  Use of Selective Inhibitors and Chromogenic Substrates to differentiate Bacteria Based on Toluene Oxygenase Activity.  Journal of Microbiological Methods, 46 (2001), p. 171.

Lee, B D, MR Walton, and JL Meigio.   2001.   Interaction of Microbes and Uranium during Enrichment for TCE Reductive Dechlorination.   Sixth International In Situ and On Site Bioremediation Symposium; San Diego, CA; USA; 4-7 June 2001. pp. 77-85. 

Lee, BD, WA Apel, MR Walton, AR Miller, and  L Gabrylczyk.  1998.  Comparison of Anaerobic Biofilters and Anaerobic Biotrickling Filters for Carbon Tetrachloride Removal from Synthetic Off-Gas Streams.  Proceedings of the 91st  Annual Meeting and exhibition of the Air and Waste Management Association.  Paper 98-MP20A.07.  San Diego, CA.  June 1998.

Ward, TE, D Bulmer, MR Walton, WA Apel.  1998.  Development of genetically engineered bacteria for trichloroethylene degradation .  Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A: Toxic/Hazardous Substances and Environmental Engineering.  33(2):  179-193.

Lee, B D, W A Apel, and  M R Walton. 1997.  Utilization of Toxic Gases and Vapors as Alternate Electron Acceptors in Biofilters.  Air & Waste Management Association annual meeting, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, June 8-13, 1997.

Lee, B D, W A Apel, M R Walton, and L L Cook.  1996.  Treatment of Methanol Contaminated Air Streams Using Biofiltration.  Air & Waste Management Association annual meeting, Nashville, TN, June 23-28, 1996.

Apel, W A, B D Lee, M R Walton, L L Cook, and KB Dinerstein.  1995.  Removal of a-pinene from off-gases by biofiltration.  Air & Waste Management Association annual meeting, San Antonio, TX, June 18-23, 1995.

Apel, W A, MR Walton, and PR Dugan.  1994.  An evaluation of autotrophic microbes for the removal of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel combustion gas streams.  Fuel Processing Technology 40:139-149.

Apel, WA, PR Dugan, MR Wiebe, EG Johnson, JH Wolfram, and RD Rogers. 1993.  Bioprocessing of the environmentally significant gases and vapors:  methane, trichloroethylene, and xylene using gas phase bioreactors.  ACS Symposium Series 518:411-428.
Apel, WA, PR Dugan, and MR Wiebe.  1992.  Influence of kaolin on methane oxidation by Methylomonas methanica in gas phase bioreactors.  Fuel 71:805-808.

Apel, WA, PR Dugan and MR Wiebe.  1990.  Use of methanotrophic bacteria in gas phase bioreactors to abate  methane in coal mine atmospheres.  Amer. Chem. Soc. Div. Fuel Chem. Preprint 35(3):943-950, Fuel 70(8):1001-1004.
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