A 1,1,1-trichloroethane-degrading anaerobic mixed microbial culture enhances biotransformation of mixtures of chlorinated ethenes and ethanes.

Research paper by Ariel A Grostern, Elizabeth A EA Edwards

Indexed on: 24 Oct '06Published on: 24 Oct '06Published in: Applied and environmental microbiology


1,1,1-trichloroethane (1,1,1-TCA) is a common groundwater pollutant as a result of improper disposal and accidental spills. It is often found as a cocontaminant with trichloroethene (TCE) and inhibits some TCE-degrading microorganisms. 1,1,1-TCA removal is therefore required for effective bioremediation of sites contaminated with mixed chlorinated organics. This study characterized MS, a 1,1,1-TCA-degrading, anaerobic, mixed microbial culture derived from a 1,1,1-TCA-contaminated site in the northeastern United States. MS reductively dechlorinated 1,1,1-TCA to 1,1-dichloroethane (1,1-DCA) and then to monochloroethane (CA) but not further. Cloning of bacterial 16S rRNA genes revealed among other organisms the presence of a Dehalobacter sp. and a Desulfovibrio sp., which are both phylogenetically related to known dehalorespiring strains. Monitoring of these populations with species-specific quantitative PCR during degradation of 1,1,1-TCA and 1,1-DCA showed that Dehalobacter proliferated during dechlorination. Dehalobacter growth was dechlorination dependent, whereas Desulfovibrio growth was dechlorination independent. Experiments were also performed to test whether MS could enhance TCE degradation in the presence of inhibiting levels of 1,1,1-TCA. Dechlorination of cis-dichloroethene (cDCE) and vinyl chloride (VC) in KB-1, a chloroethene-degrading culture used for bioaugmentation, was inhibited with 1,1,1-TCA present. When KB-1 and MS were coinoculated, degradation of cDCE and VC to ethene proceeded as soon as the 1,1,1-TCA was dechlorinated to 1,1-DCA by MS. This demonstrated the potential application of the MS and KB-1 cultures for cobioaugmentation of sites cocontaminated with 1,1,1-TCA and TCE.