Tariq Siddique is a Professor of Soil Chemistry and Environmental Microbiology in the Department of Renewable Resources at the University of Alberta. He completed his PhD and worked as a Post Doctoral Fellow at the University of California, Riverside, USA. He also worked as a Post Doctoral Fellow at the University of Northern British Columbia and later he took up his NSERC Post Doctoral Fellowship at University of Alberta before joining the Department of Renewable Resources at University of Alberta. He has been working in the area of environmental microbiology and biogeochemistry for the last 20 years.
Currently, his research focuses mainly on environmental issues / challenges related to oil sands tailings. His group is engaged in research on investigating biodegradation of hydrocarbons under different redox conditions, exploring microbial metabolic pathways through molecular characterization of microbial communities, modeling greenhouse gas emissions from tailings ponds, and understanding biogeochemical processes that induce flux of inorganic and organic contaminants from underlying tailings to surface cap water in end-pit lakes. His research also includes biotransformation of metals and their speciation in the environment. His is currently working on a collaborative Future Energy Systems project on the application of keratin-derived biopolymers for treating industrial wastewaters and consolidating fluid fine tailings. This research with Dr Aman Ullah was selected as a 2019 finalist for the Alberta Science and Technology Leadership (ASTech) Awards.
Main research findings
- Indigenous microorganisms sequentially and preferentially biodegrade petroleum hydrocarbon under methanogenic conditions.
- Biodegradation of diluent hydrocarbon produces GHG emissions from tailings ponds
- Stoichiometric model developed on hydrocarbon biodegradation can predict GHG emissions from tailings ponds
- Methanogenesis in end-pit lakes produces turbidity in water column, and induces bitumen transport and flux of contaminants from underlying tailings to surface cap water
- Management of Froth treatment thickened tailings under upland scenario can produce acid mine drainage with extremely low pH and high metal concentrations
- Microbial activities accelerate consolidation and dewatering of fluid fine tailings deposited in tailings ponds by altering porewater and clay chemistry
- Steam assisted in situ bitumen recovery can mobilize arsenic in aquifers
- The similar concentrations of arsenic and selenium in surface water upstream and downstream of oil sands industry suggests natural inputs controlling these trace elements in lower Athabasca River.
- Keratine-derived biopolymers can be used as sorbents for removing trace metals and organics from industrial wastewaters, and as flocculants for increasing dewatering and consolidation of fine tailings