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Keywords:

  • Chlorobenzene;
  • Stable isotope fractionation;
  • Reductive dechlorination

Abstract

Fractionation of stable carbon isotopes upon degradation of trichlorobenzenes was studied under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Mineralization of 1,2,4-trichlorobenzene by the aerobic strain Pseudomonas sp. P51 which uses a dioxygenase for the initial enzymatic reaction was not accompanied by a significant isotope fractionation. In contrast, reductive dehalogenation by the anaerobic strain Dehalococcoides sp. strain CBDB1 revealed average isotope enrichment factors (η) between −3.1 and −3.7 for 1,2,3- and 1,2,4-trichlorobenzene, respectively. The significant isotope fractionation during reductive dehalogenation would allow tracing the in situ biodegradation of halogenated benzenes in contaminated anoxic aquifers, whereas the lack of isotope fractionation during aerobic transformation limits the use of this approach in oxic environments.