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Keywords:

  • reductive dechlorination;
  • tetrachloroethene;
  • vinyl chloride;
  • Dehalococcoides;
  • Bitterfeld

Abstract

A Dehalococcoides-dominated culture coupling reductive dechlorination of tetrachloroethene (PCE) to ethene to growth was enriched from a European field site for the first time. Microcosms were set up using groundwater from a chlorinated ethene-contaminated anaerobic aquifer in Bitterfeld (Germany). Active, lactate-amended microcosms capable of PCE dechlorination to ethene without the accumulation of intermediates were used for further enrichment. After three transfers on lactate as an electron donor and PCE as an electron acceptor, the enrichment was transferred to parallel cultures with one of the chlorinated ethenes as an electron acceptor and acetate and hydrogen as the carbon and energy source, respectively. After three more transfers, a highly purified culture was derived that was capable of dechlorinating PCE with hydrogen and acetate as the electron donor and carbon source, respectively. PCR, followed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, cloning and sequencing revealed that this culture was dominated by a Dehalococcoides sp. belonging to the Pinellas group. Investigation of substrate specificity in the parallel cultures suggested the presence of a novel Dehalococcoides that can couple all dechlorination steps, from PCE to ethene, to energy conservation. Quantitative real-time PCR confirmed growth with PCE, cis-dichloroethene, 1,1-dichloroethene or vinyl chloride as electron acceptors. The culture was designated BTF08 due to its origin in Bitterfeld.