Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Timothy R Filley

Committee Member 1

Chad T Jafvert

Committee Member 2

Greg Michalski

Committee Member 3

Ronald Turco


Since the synthesis of the first carbon nanomaterials (CNM) 30 years ago, researchers and manufacturers have recognized the potential of these materials to transform the world. The unique physical properties and incredible resilience of these materials gives them countless applications and has led to significant increases in their production over the last decade. However, despite their growing prevalence, the properties and processes controlling the degradation of CNM in the environment remain poorly understood. The primary purpose of this dissertation is to examine the role of environmental microorganisms in degrading CNM and to elucidate which CNM properties and environmental processes represent important controls on this degradation. To accomplish this, a series of incubation studies were conducted in which pure fungal cultures and soils were exposed to a CNM.