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Chapter 21 : Carol D. Litchfield: Salt of the Earth

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Abstract:

Carol D. Litchfield (1936–2012) was a pioneer as a woman in oceanographic microbiology and biochemistry and a professor at both Rutgers State University of New Jersey and George Mason University in Virginia. She spent time in bioremediation industrial work but is especially noted for her work in oceans and in halophilic (high-salt) environments. Working in salt production facilities, she characterized the microbiota of salterns and developed techniques for industrial microbiology. Carol also worked in natural hypersaline systems, such as Great Salt Lake. She relished in learning new techniques and using multiple approaches to explore a problem. Her body of work extends from studies of many of the Earth’s environments to discussions about the possibility of extreme life off our planet. Carol was also an amateur historian and amassed a collection of artifacts centered on the salt industry, which are now housed in a museum and available to researchers. This chapter, by Bonnie Baxter and Kendall Tate-Wright, covers Dr. Litchfield’s life and career and features interviews with former students and colleagues that reveal Carol’s talents and underscore her passion for mentoring, perhaps her most important contribution to science.

Citation: Baxter B, Tate-Wright K. 2018. Carol D. Litchfield: Salt of the Earth, p 193-206. In Whitaker R, Barton H (ed), Women in Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819545.ch21
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Figure 1

Carol Darlene Ross, avid science student and softball player, in grade school. Carol after college, circa 1960, beginning her life in science and about to be married. Photos provided by R. Ross.

Citation: Baxter B, Tate-Wright K. 2018. Carol D. Litchfield: Salt of the Earth, p 193-206. In Whitaker R, Barton H (ed), Women in Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819545.ch21
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Image of Figure 2
Figure 2

Carol on the “RV Rutgers” with the sediment grab sampler, 1977. She was investigating the New York City sewage sludge dump site with her students. Photo credit H. Edenborn. Carol and graduate student Russell Vreeland on a sampling trip to Bonaire, circa 1974. Photo provided by R. Vreeland.

Citation: Baxter B, Tate-Wright K. 2018. Carol D. Litchfield: Salt of the Earth, p 193-206. In Whitaker R, Barton H (ed), Women in Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819545.ch21
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Image of Figure 3
Figure 3

Carol with Aharon Oren and Bonnie Baxter at the International Halophiles Conference in Essex, UK, 2007. Photo provided by B. K. Baxter.

Citation: Baxter B, Tate-Wright K. 2018. Carol D. Litchfield: Salt of the Earth, p 193-206. In Whitaker R, Barton H (ed), Women in Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819545.ch21
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Figure 4

Carol, center, field sampling at the north shore of Great Salt Lake with students from Westminster College in Utah, June 2002. Photo credit B. K. Baxter.

Citation: Baxter B, Tate-Wright K. 2018. Carol D. Litchfield: Salt of the Earth, p 193-206. In Whitaker R, Barton H (ed), Women in Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819545.ch21
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Figure 5

Carol and her GMU graduate student, Swati Almeida-Dalmet. Photo provided by S. Dalmet.

Citation: Baxter B, Tate-Wright K. 2018. Carol D. Litchfield: Salt of the Earth, p 193-206. In Whitaker R, Barton H (ed), Women in Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819545.ch21
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Image of Figure 6
Figure 6

Carol celebrating her 75th birthday with friends, October 2011. Photo credit B. K. Baxter. One of Carol’s photographs from a scuba trip to Turks and Caicos, 2005. Photo credit C. D. Litchfield.

Citation: Baxter B, Tate-Wright K. 2018. Carol D. Litchfield: Salt of the Earth, p 193-206. In Whitaker R, Barton H (ed), Women in Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819545.ch21
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References

/content/book/10.1128/9781555819545.chap21
1. Baxter BK,, Gunde-Cimerman N,, Oren A . 2014. Salty sisters: the women of halophiles. Front Microbiol 5 : 192.
2. Litchfield CD,, Colwell RR,, Prescott JM . 1969. Numerical taxonomy of heterotrophic bacteria growing in association with continuous-culture Chlorella sorokiniana. Appl Microbiol 18 : 1044 1049.
3. Litchfield C, . 1974. Non-equivalence of proteins from marine and conventional sources for the cultivation of marine bacteria, p 354 362. In Colwell RR,, Morita RY (ed), Effect of the Ocean Environment on Microbial Activities; Proceedings. University Park Press, Baltimore, MD.
4. Litchfield CD . 1976. Marine Microbiology. Dowden, Hutchinson & Ross, New York, NY; distributed by Halsted Press, Stroudsburg, PA.
5. Litchfield CD,, Devanas MA,, Zindulis J,, Carty CE,, Nakas JP,, Martin EL, . 1979. Application of the 14C organic mineralization technique to marine sediments, p 128 147. In Litchfield CD,, Seyfried PL (ed), Methodology for Biomass Determinations and Microbial Activities in Sediments. ASTM STP 673. American Society for Testing Materials, West Conshohocken, PA.
6. Vreeland RH,, Litchfield CD,, Martin EL,, Elliot E . 1980. Halomonas elongata, a new genus and species of extremely salt-tolerant bacteria. Int J Syst Bacteriol 30 : 485 495.
7. Litchfield CD, . 1991. Red—the magic color for solar salt production, p 403 412. In Hocquet J-C,, Palme R (ed), Das Salz in der Rechts-und Handelsgeschichte. Berenkamp, Hall in Tirol, Austria.
8. Litchfield CD . 1979. Microbial Contributions to Organic Mineralization in the Waters and Sediments of the New York Bight: Final Report for 1977–78, NOAA-MESA-New York Bight Studies. Center for Coastal and Environmental Studies—Marine Sciences Division, Rutgers, the State University, New Brunswick, NJ.
9. Litchfield CD . 1982. Benthic and planktonic bacteria. In SINC Compendium Report. http://sca.gmu.edu/finding_aids/litchfield.html. Accessed 10 October 2017.
10. Malone TC,, Chervin MB,, Garside C,, Litchfield CD,, Stepien JC,, Thomas JP . 1982. Synoptic Investigation of Nutrient Cycling in the Coastal Plume of the Hudson and Raritan Rivers: Plankton Dynamics. Hudson River Environmental Society, Inc, New York, NY.
11. Litchfield CD . 1990. In Situ Bioremediation at the Victoria West Landfill (Final Report). http://sca.gmu.edu/finding_aids/litchfield.html.
12. George Mason University Libraries . 2016. Carol D. Litchfield Microbiology Collection. Collection C0047, Special Collections and Archives. http://sca.gmu.edu/finding_aids/litchfield.html.
13. Litchfield CD . 2004. Evolution of extremophiles from laboratory oddities to their practical applications: a selective review of the patent literature. SIM News 54 : 245 253.
14. Litchfield CD . 2005. Thirty years and counting: bioremediation in its prime? Bioscience 55 : 273 279.
15. Litchfield CD . 2011. Potential for industrial products from the halophilic Archaea. J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol 38 : 1635 1647.
16. Arahal DR,, Vreeland RH,, Litchfield CD,, Mormile MR,, Tindall BJ,, Oren A,, Bejar V,, Quesada E,, Ventosa A . 2007. Recommended minimal standards for describing new taxa of the family Halomonadaceae. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol 57 : 2436 2446.
17. Litchfield CD,, Irby A,, Kis-Papo T,, Oren A . 2000. Comparisons of the polar lipid and pigment profiles of two solar salterns located in Newark, California, USA, and Eilat, Israel. Extremophiles 4 : 259 265.
18. Litchfield CD . 1998. Survival strategies for microorganisms in hypersaline environments and their relevance to life on early Mars. Meteorit Planet Sci 33 : 813 819.
19. Litchfield CD,, Gillevet PM . 2002. Microbial diversity and complexity in hypersaline environments: a preliminary assessment. J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol 28 : 48 55.
20. Litchfield CD,, Sikaroodi M,, Gillevet PM . 2006. Characterization of natural communities of halophilic microorganisms. Methods Microbiol 35 : 513 533.
21. Litchfield CD, . 2004. Microbial molecular and physiological diversity in hypersaline environments, p 49 61. In Ventosa A (ed), Halophilic Microorganisms. Springer, Berlin, Germany.
22. Litchfield CD,, Sikaroodi M,, Gillevet PM, . 2005. The microbial diversity of a solar saltern on San Francisco Bay, p 59 69. In Gunde-Cimerman N,, Oren A,, Plemenitaš A (ed), Adaptation to Life at High Salt Concentrations in Archaea, Bacteria, and Eukarya. Springer, Dordrecht, the Netherlands.
23. Pesenti PT,, Sikaroodi M,, Gillevet PM,, Sánchez-Porro C,, Ventosa A,, Litchfield CD . 2008. Halorubrum californiense sp. nov., an extreme archaeal halophile isolated from a crystallizer pond at a solar salt plant in California, USA. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol 58 : 2710 2715.
24. Almeida-Dalmet S,, Sikaroodi M,, Gillevet PM,, Litchfield CD,, Baxter BK . 2015. Temporal study of the microbial diversity of the North Arm of Great Salt Lake, Utah, U.S. Microorganisms 3 : 310 326.
25. Baxter BK,, Litchfield CD,, Sowers K,, Griffith JD,, DasSarma PA,, DasSarma S, . 2005. Microbial diversity of great salt lake, p 9 25. In Gunde-Cimerman N,, Oren A,, Plemenitaš A (ed), Adaptation to Life at High Salt Concentrations in Archaea, Bacteria, and Eukarya. Springer, Dordrecht, the Netherlands.
26. Litchfield CD,, Irby A,, Kis-Papo T,, Oren A . 2001. Comparative metabolic diversity in two solar salterns. Hydrobiologia 466 : 73 80.
27. Litchfield CD,, Oren A . 2001. Polar lipids as biomarkers for the study of the microbial community structure of solar salterns in different geographic locations. Hydrobiologia 466 : 81 89.
28. Litchfield CD,, Palme R,, Piasecki P (ed) . 2001. Le monde du sel. Melanges offerts a Jean-Claude Hocquet. Berenkamp, Hall in Tirol, Austria.
29. Hagley Museum and Library . 19 August 2016. Introducing the Carol Litchfield Collection on the History of Salt. http://www.hagley.org/librarynews/introducing-carol-litchfield-collection-history-salt.
30. Eternal Reefs . 2016. The Eternal Reefs Story. http://eternalreefs.com/the-eternal-reefs-story/.
31. Mou YZ,, Qiu XX,, Zhao ML,, Cui HL,, Oh D,, Dyall-Smith ML . 2012. Halohasta litorea gen. nov. sp. nov., and Halohasta litchfieldiae sp. nov., isolated from the Daliang aquaculture farm, China and from Deep Lake, Antarctica, respectively. Extremophiles 16 : 895 901.

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