J. Michael Henson

Research Associate Professor

Contact Information

Phone: 864-656-1649
FAX: 864-656-0435
Email: hhenson@clemson.edu


  • Postdoctoral research, Florida State University, 1984 - 1985
  • Ph.D. Microbiology, University of Florida, 1983
  • M.S. Microbiology, Clemson University, 1978
  • B.S. Biology, University of South Carolina, 1975

Research Interests

  • Major research interests include the anaerobic microbial ecology of various environments as follows:
    • transformation of biomass, such as switchgrass or other agricultural materials, into soluble carbohydrates for further conversion to value-added products, such as ethanol, butanol, hydrogen, or methane (funded by US DoE);
    • Evaluation of the role that anaerobic microbes have in the manatee intestinal tract (funded by US DoE);
    • Use of bioelectrosynthesis using anaerobic microbes to convert carbon dioxide to biofuels or biofuel precursors (funded by ARPA-E, US DoE);
    • Elucidating the interactions between fungi and bacteria as they grow on lignocellulosic substrates, such as switchgrass or sorghum (funded by US DoE), and
    • Converison of switchgrass by salt marsh methanogenic microbial communities (funded by US DoE).

Selected Publications

  • Jain, A., C.K. Morlok, and J.M. Henson.  Comparison of solid-state and submerged state fermentation for the bioprocessing of switchgrass to biofuels by Clostridium phytofermentans. Manuscript Submitted.
  • Miller, K.P., Y.K. Gowtham, J.M. Henson, and S.W. Harcum. 2012.  Xylose isomerase improves growth and ethanol production rates from biomass sugars for both Saccharomyces pastorianus and Saccharomyces cerevisiae.  Biotechnol Prog.  Article first published online : 30 MAR 2012, DOI: 10.1002/btpr.1535
  • Henson, J.M., M.V. Yates, and J.W. Cochran. 1989. Metabolism of chlorinated methanes, ethanes and ethylenes by a mixed bacterial culture growing on methane. J. Indust. Microbiol. 4:29-35.
  • Ringelberg, D.B., J.M, J.D. Davis, G.S. Smith, S.M. Pfiffner, P.D. Nichols, J.S. Nickels, J.M. Henson, J.T. Wilson, M. Yates, D.H. Kampbell, H.W. Reed, T.T. Stocksdale, and D.C. White. 1989. Validation of signature polarlipid fatty acid biomarkers for alkane-utilizing bacteria in soils and subsurface aquifer materials. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. 62:39-50
  • Henson, J.M., M.J. McInerney, P.S. Beaty, J.S. Nickels, and D.C. White. 1988. Lipid composition of the syntrophic anaerobic bacterium, Syntrophomonas wolfei. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 54:1570-1574.
  • Henson, J.M., M.V. Yates, J.W. Cochran, and D.S. Shackleford. 1988. Microbial removal of halogenated methanes, ethanes, and ethylenes in an aerobic soil exposed to methane. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. 53:193-201.
  • Rivard, C.R, F. Bordeaux, J.M. Henson, and P.H. Smith. 1988. Effects of addition of soluble oxidants on the thermophilic anaerobic digestion of biomass to methane. Appl. Biochem. Biotechnol. p.245 - 262.
  • Nichols, P.D., J.M. Henson, C.P. Antworth, , J. Parson, D.C. White, and J.T. Wilson, and D.C. White. 1987. Detection of a microbial consortium including type II methanotrophs by use of phospholipid fatty acids in an aerobic halogenated hydrocarbon-degrading soil column enriched with natural gas. Environ. Toxicol. and Chem. 6:89-97.
  • Wilson, J.T, L.E. Leach, J.M. Henson, and J.N. Jones. 1986. In-situ biorestoration as a ground water remediation technique. Ground Water Monitoring Review 6:56-64.
  • Nivens, D.E., P.D. Nichols, J.M. Henson, G.G. Geesey, and D.C. White. 1986. Reversible acceleration of corrosion of 304 stainless steel exposed to sea water induced by growth and secretions of the marine bacterium Vibrio natriegens. Corrosion 42:204-210.
  • Henson, J.M., F.M. Bordeaux, C.J. Rivard, and P.H. Smith. 1986. Quantitative influences of butyrate or propionate on thermophilic production of methane from biomass. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 51:288-292.
  • Henson, J.M., P.H. Smith, and D.C. White. 1985. Examination of thermophilic methane-producing digesters by the analysis of bacterial lipids. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 50:1428-1433.
  • Nichols, P.D., J.M. Henson, J.B. Guckert, D.E. Nivens, and D.C. White. 1985. Fourier transform-infrared spectroscopic methods for microbial ecology: analysis of bacteria, bacteria-polymer mixtures, and biofilms. J. Microbiol. Meth. 4:79-94.
  • Henson, J.M. and P.H. Smith. 1985. Isolation of a butyrate-utilizing bacterium in coculture with Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum from a thermophilic digester. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 49:1461-1466.
  • Rivard, C.J., J.M. Henson, M.V. Thomas, and P.H. Smith. 1983. Isolation and characterization of Methanomicrobium paynteri sp. nov., a mesophilic methanogen isolated from marine sediments. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 46:484-490.
  • Henson, J.M., and S.S. Hayasaka. 1982. Effects of the water-soluble fraction of microbiologically or physically altered crude petroleum on the heterotrophic activity of marine bacteria. Mar. Environ. Res. 6:205-214.

Recent Courses

  • MICRO 305 - General Microbiology
  • MICRO 402/602 - Environmental Microbiology
  • MICRO 403/603 - Marine Microbiology
  • MICRO 413/613 - Industrial Microbiology
  • MICRO 491/H491 – Special Problems in Microbiology
  • MICRO 493 – Senior Seminar
  • MICRO 494 – Creative Inquiry
  • MICRO 807 – Current Topics in Microbiology
  • MICRO 812 - Bacterial Metabolism

Graduate Students

  • Abhiney Jain, Ph.D.
  • Sandra Bediako, Ph.D.
  • Ryan Hammonds, M.S.
  • Megan Burdette, M.S.

Professional Affiliations

  • American Society for Microbiology
  • Society for Industrial Microbiology
  • International Society for Microbial Ecology