Office Address

1479 Gortner Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55108
United States

Lawrence P.


Distinguished McKnight University Professor
Biochemistry Molecular Biology and Biophysics

The Wackett laboratory investigates enzyme transformations focusing on biodegradation, biocatalysis, and bioinformatics related to those topics.  The biodegradation research is now directed toward the enzymatic degradation of guanidinium compounds and polyfluorinated compounds, know commonly as PFAS.


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Research overview

The Wackett laboratory studies microbial enzymes and pathways for biocatalysis and biodegradation and helped build the Biocatalysis/Biodegradation Database.  (link to:

Current biodegradation research
Research is being conducted on the biodegradation of PFAS chemicals. We are studying all aspects of the issue and developing new enzymes that handle these difficult-to-degrade chemicals. Research is also being conducted on the enzymatic degradation of guanidinium compounds such as the pharmaceutical metformin. 

Our studies on biodegradation provide opportunities for bioremediation of chemical contaminants in water; for example the disinfection byproduct cyanuric acid.

The Wackett laboratory is involved in a multi-investigator project to design the RAPID algorithm. RAPID is defined as Reactive Activity Product Identification and is a bioinformatics project designed to help predict the reactions catalyzed by broad-specificity enzymes that have significance in biosynthesis and biodegradation

Selected publications

Guo, F., J.C. McAuliffe, C. Bongiorni, J.A. Latone, M.J. Pepsin, M.S. Chow, R.S. Dhaliwal, K.M. Hoffmann, B.T. Brazil, M.H. Heng, S.L. Robinson, L.P. Wackett, and G.M. Whited (2022) A procedure for removal of cyanuric acid in swimming pools using a cell-free thermostable cyanuric acid hydrolase. J. Ind. Microbiol. Biotech. 49(2):kuab084.

Wackett, L.P. (2022) Nothing lasts forever: Understanding microbial biodegradation of polyfluorinated compounds, including PFAS. Micro Biotech. 15: 773-792. 

Bygd, M.D., K.G. Aukema, J.E. Richman and L.P. Wackett (2022) Microwell fluoride screen for chemical, enzymatic and cellular reactions reveals latent microbial defluorination capacity for –CF3 groups. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 88(9):e0028822.

Wackett, L.P. (2022) The future of microbial biotechnology. Micro Biotech., 15(1):79-80. 

Aukema, K.G., M. Wang, B. de Souza, S. O’Keane, M. Clipsham, L.P. Wackett , A. Aksan (2022) Core-shell encapsulation formulations to stabilize desiccated Bradyrhizobium against high environmental temperature and humidity. Microbial Biotech doi: 10.1111/1751-7915.14078.

Wackett, L.P. (2022) Pseudomonas: Versatile biocatalysts for PFAS. Environ. Microbiol. doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.15990.

Wackett, L.P. (2022) Toward a molecular understanding of fluoride stress in a model Pseudomonas strain. Environ. Microbiol. doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.16114.

Wackett, L.P. (2022) Strategies for the biodegradation of polyfluorinated chemicals. Microorganisms 10:1664. 

Aukema, K.G., M.D. Bygd, L.J. Tassoulas, J.E. Richman, and L.P. Wackett (2022) Fluoro-recognition: New in vivo fluorescent assay for toluene dioxygenase probing induction by and metabolism of polyfluorinated compounds. Environ. Microbiol. 24(11): 5202-5216. 

Martinez-Vaz, B., Dodge, A.G., Lucero, R.M., Stockbridge, R.B., Robinson, A.A., Tassoulas, L.J., and L.P. Wackett (2022) Wastewater bacteria remediating the pharmaceutical metformin: Genomes, plasmids and products. Frontiers Bioeng. Biotechnol. 10: 1086261.