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Postdoc, University of Georgia, Athens


Anaerobic reductive dehalogenation

Chlorinated hydrocarbons have been massively produced and widely used in different areas of modern societies, such as cleaning of machinery, manufacturing, and agrochemical production (e.g., pesticides). Widespread usage and improper disposal of chlorinated hydrocarbons have caused environmental and human health concerns. Knowledge about microbial degradation of chlorinated hydrocarbons had been almost exclusively derived from microorganisms obtained from contaminated environments impacted by anthropological activities. However, recent research has discovered that many chlorinated hydrocarbons, including priority pollutants, also have natural origins. For instance, organochlorine compounds (e.g. vinyl chloride, chloromethane) can be produced by the organisms found in the marine (e.g. sponges, cyanobacteria, molluscs, sea hares, mussels), terrestrial (e.g. lichens, fungi, bacteria) and extraterrestrial environments. These natural organochlorine compounds can be utilized by a special group of microorganisms, which derive energy through breaking carbon-chlorine bond using the reductive dehalogenase enzyme system to support their metabolic activities and growth. Amplicon sequencing of 16S rRNA gene revealed frequent detection of Dehalococcoidia-like Chloroflexi in various pristine environments (e.g. Arctic lake, Lake Baikal, Antarctica lake, and marine deep surface), underlying their ubiquitous presence and critical roles involved in global chlorine cycling.


Bioremediation of chlorinated ethenes in fractured bedrock and associated changes in dechlorinating and nondechlorinating microbial populations.

Abstract: The use of enhanced in situ anaerobic bioremediation (EISB) and bioaugmentation in fractured bedrock is limited compared to its use in granular media. We evaluated EISB for the treatment of trichloroethene (TCE)-impacted groundwater in fractured carbonate rock at a site in Southern Ontario, Canada, with cool average groundwater temperature (∼ 13 °C). Borehole-connectivity, contaminant concentrations, and groundwater properties were investigated. Changes in dechlorinating and nondechlorinating populations (fermenters, acetogens, methanogens, and sulfate reducers) were assessed via quantitative PCR (qPCR). During biostimulation with ethanol, concentrations of TCE daughter products cis-dichloroethene (cDCE) and vinyl chloride (VC) decreased in association with an enrichment of vcrA (VC reductive dehalogenase)-carrying Dehalococcoides, whereas ethene production was only moderate. Following bioaugmentation with the mixed dechlorinating culture KB-1, greater concentrations of chloride-a product of dechlorination-was observed in most wells; in addition, ethene production increased significantly in monitoring well locations that had strong hydraulic connectivity to the groundwater recirculation system, while Dehalococcoides and vcrA concentrations did not appreciably vary. Interestingly, increases of 3-4 orders of magnitude of an ethanol-fermenting Bacteroidetes population also present in KB-1 were correlated to improved conversion to ethene, an observation which suggests there could be a causal relationship-for example, better syntrophy and/or synergy among bacterial populations.

Pub.: 15 Apr '14, Pinned: 07 Aug '17

Genomic characterization of three unique Dehalococcoides that respire on persistent polychlorinated biphenyls.

Abstract: Fastidious anaerobic bacteria play critical roles in environmental bioremediation of halogenated compounds. However, their characterization and application have been largely impeded by difficulties in growing them in pure culture. Thus far, no pure culture has been reported to respire on the notorious polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and functional genes responsible for PCB detoxification remain unknown due to the extremely slow growth of PCB-respiring bacteria. Here we report the successful isolation and characterization of three Dehalococcoides mccartyi strains that respire on commercial PCBs. Using high-throughput metagenomic analysis, combined with traditional culture techniques, tetrachloroethene (PCE) was identified as a feasible alternative to PCBs to isolate PCB-respiring Dehalococcoides from PCB-enriched cultures. With PCE as an alternative electron acceptor, the PCB-respiring Dehalococcoides were boosted to a higher cell density (1.2 × 10(8) to 1.3 × 10(8) cells per mL on PCE vs. 5.9 × 10(6) to 10.4 × 10(6) cells per mL on PCBs) with a shorter culturing time (30 d on PCE vs. 150 d on PCBs). The transcriptomic profiles illustrated that the distinct PCB dechlorination profile of each strain was predominantly mediated by a single, novel reductive dehalogenase (RDase) catalyzing chlorine removal from both PCBs and PCE. The transcription levels of PCB-RDase genes are 5-60 times higher than the genome-wide average. The cultivation of PCB-respiring Dehalococcoides in pure culture and the identification of PCB-RDase genes deepen our understanding of organohalide respiration of PCBs and shed light on in situ PCB bioremediation.

Pub.: 17 Jul '14, Pinned: 07 Aug '17

Dehalococcoides mccartyi strain JNA dechlorinates multiple chlorinated phenols including pentachlorophenol and harbors at least 19 reductive dehalogenase homologous genes.

Abstract: Pentachlorophenol and other chlorinated phenols are highly toxic ubiquitous environmental pollutants. Using gas chromatographic analysis we determined that Dehalococcoides mccartyi strain JNA in pure culture dechlorinated pentachlorophenol to 3,5-dichlorophenol (DCP) via removal of the ortho and para chlorines in all of the three possible pathways. In addition, JNA dechlorinated 2,3,4,6-tetrachlorophenol via 2,4,6-trichlorophenol (TCP) and 2,4,5-TCP to 2,4-DCP and 3,4-DCP, respectively, and dechlorinated 2,3,6-TCP to 3-chlorophenol (CP) via 2,5-DCP. JNA converted 2,3,4-TCP to 3,4-DCP and 2,4-DCP by ortho and meta dechlorination, respectively. 2,3-DCP was dechlorinated to 3-CP, and, because cultures using it could be transferred with a low inoculum (0.5 to 1.5% vol/vol), it may act as an electron acceptor to support growth. Using PCR amplification with targeted and degenerate primers followed by cloning and sequencing, we determined that JNA harbors at least 19 reductive dehalogenase homologous (rdh) genes including orthologs of pcbA4 and pcbA5, pceA, and mbrA, but not tceA or vcrA. Many of these genes are shared with D. mccartyi strains CBDB1, DCMB5, GT, and CG5. Strain JNA has previously been shown to extensively dechlorinate the commercial polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) mixture Aroclor 1260. Collectively the data suggest that strain JNA may be well adapted to survive in sites contaminated with chlorinated aromatics and may be useful for in situ bioremediation.

Pub.: 08 Nov '14, Pinned: 07 Aug '17

Detoxification of 1,1,2-trichloroethane to ethene by desulfitobacterium and identification of its functional reductase gene.

Abstract: 1,1,2-trichloroethane (1,1,2-TCA) has become a common groundwater pollutant due to historically extensive utilization, improper disposal, as well as from incomplete dechlorination of 1,1,2,2-tetrachloroethane. Currently, limited information is available on microbial detoxification of 1,1,2-TCA. Desulfitobacterium sp. strain PR, which was isolated from an anaerobic bioreactor maintained to dechlorinate chloroethenes/ethanes, exhibited the capacity to dechlorinate 1,1,1-trichloroethane and chloroform. In this study, the dechlorinating ability of strain PR was further explored. Strain PR showed the capability to dechlorinate 1,1,2-TCA (~1.12 mM) predominantly to 1,2-dichloroethane (1,2-DCA) and chloroethane, and to trace amounts of vinyl chloride and ethene within 20 days. Strain PR coupled growth with dechlorination of 1,1,2-TCA to 1,2-DCA, while no cell growth was observed with dechlorination of 1,2-DCA to chloroethane. Later, through transcriptomic and enzymatic analysis, the reductive dehalogenase CtrA, which was previously reported to be responsible for 1,1,1-trichloroethane and chloroform dechlorination, was identified as the 1,1,2-TCA reductive dehalogenase. Since trichloroethene (TCE) is usually co-contaminated with 1,1,2-TCA, a co-culture containing Dehalococcoides mccartyi strain 11a capable of detoxifying TCE and 1,2-DCA and strain PR was established. Interestingly, this co-culture dechlorinated 1,1,2-TCA and TCE to the non-toxic end-product ethene within 48 days without chloroethane production. This novel pathway avoids production of the carcinogenic intermediate dechlorination product vinyl chloride, providing a more environmentally friendly strategy to treat 1,1,2-TCA.

Pub.: 04 Apr '15, Pinned: 07 Aug '17

Stable Carbon Isotope Fractionation During 1,2-Dichloropropane-to-Propene Transformation by an Enrichment Culture Containing Dehalogenimonas Strains and a dcpA Gene.

Abstract: A stable enrichment culture derived from Besòs river estuary sediments stoichiometrically dechlorinated 1,2-dichloropropane (1,2-DCP) to propene. Sequential transfers in defined anaerobic medium with the inhibitor bromoethanesulfonate produced a sediment-free culture dechlorinating 1,2-DCP in the absence of methanogenesis. Application of previously published genus-specific primers targeting 16S rRNA gene sequences revealed the presence of a Dehalogenimonas strain, and no amplification was obtained with Dehalococcoides-specific primers. The partial sequence of the 16S rRNA amplicon was 100% identical with Dehalogenimonas alkenigignens strain IP3-3. Also, dcpA, a gene described to encode a corrinoid-containing 1,2-DCP reductive dehalogenase was detected. Resistance of the dehalogenating activity to vancomycin, exclusive conversion of vicinally chlorinated alkanes, and tolerance to short-term oxygen exposure is consistent with the hypothesis that a Dehalogenimonas strain is responsible for 1,2-DCP conversion in the culture. Quantitative PCR showed a positive correlation between the number of Dehalogenimonas 16S rRNA genes copies in the culture and consumption of 1,2-DCP. Compound specific isotope analysis revealed that the Dehalogenimonas-catalyzed carbon isotopic fractionation (εC(bulk)) of the 1,2-DCP-to-propene reaction was -15.0 ± 0.7‰ under both methanogenic and nonmethanogenic conditions. This study demonstrates that carbon isotope fractionation is a valuable approach for monitoring in situ 1,2-DCP reductive dechlorination by Dehalogenimonas strains.

Pub.: 26 Jun '15, Pinned: 07 Aug '17

Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) anaerobic degradation in marine sediments: microcosm study and role of autochthonous microbial communities.

Abstract: Polychlorobiphenyl (PCB) biodegradation was followed for 1 year in microcosms containing marine sediments collected from Mar Piccolo (Taranto, Italy) chronically contaminated by this class of hazardous compounds. The microcosms were performed under strictly anaerobic conditions with or without the addition of Dehalococcoides mccartyi, the main microorganism known to degrade PCBs through the anaerobic reductive dechlorination process. Thirty PCB congeners were monitored during the experiments revealing that the biodegradation occurred in all microcosms with a decrease in hepta-, hexa-, and penta-chlorobiphenyls (CBs) and a parallel increase in low chlorinated PCBs (tri-CBs and tetra-CBs). The concentrations of the most representative congeners detected in the original sediment, such as 245-245-CB and 2345-245-CB, and of the mixture 2356-34-CB+234-245-CB, decreased by 32.5, 23.8, and 46.7 %, respectively, after only 70 days of anaerobic incubation without any bioaugmentation treatment. Additionally, the structure and population dynamics of the microbial key players involved in the biodegradative process and of the entire mixed microbial community were accurately defined by Catalyzed Reporter Deposition Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization (CARD-FISH) in both the original sediment and during the operation of the microcosm. The reductive dehalogenase genes of D. mccartyi, specifically involved in PCB dechlorination, were also quantified using real-time PCR (qPCR). Our results demonstrated that the autochthonous microbial community living in the marine sediment, including D. mccartyi (6.32E+06 16S rRNA gene copy numbers g(-1) sediment), was able to efficiently sustain the biodegradation of PCBs when controlled anaerobic conditions were imposed.

Pub.: 15 Jul '15, Pinned: 07 Aug '17

Development and Characterization of PCE-to-Ethene Dechlorinating Microcosms with Contaminated River Sediment.

Abstract: An industrial complex in Wonju, contaminated with trichloroethene (TCE), was one of the most problematic sites in Korea. Despite repeated remedial trials for decades, chlorinated ethenes remained as sources of down-gradient groundwater contamination. Recent efforts were being made to remove the contaminants of the area, but knowledge of the indigenous microbial communities and their dechlorination abilities were unknown. Thus, the objectives of the present study were (i) to evaluate the dechlorination abilities of indigenous microbes at the contaminated site, (ii) to characterize which microbes and reductive dehalogenase genes were responsible for the dechlorination reactions, and (iii) to develop a PCE-to-ethene dechlorinating microbial consortium. An enrichment culture that dechlorinates PCE to ethene was obtained from Wonju stream, nearby a trichloroethene (TCE)-contaminated industrial complex. The community profiling revealed that known organohalide-respiring microbes, such as Geobacter, Desulfuromonas, and Dehalococcoides grew during the incubation with chlorinated ethenes. Although Chloroflexi populations (i.e., Longilinea and Bellilinea) were the most enriched in the sediment microcosms, those were not found in the transfer cultures. Based upon the results from pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons and qPCR using TaqMan chemistry, close relatives of Dehalococcoides mccartyi strains FL2 and GT seemed to be dominant and responsible for the complete detoxification of chlorinated ethenes in the transfer cultures. This study also demonstrated that the contaminated site harbors indigenous microbes that can convert PCE to ethene, and the developed consortium can be an important resource for future bioremediation efforts.

Pub.: 28 Oct '15, Pinned: 07 Aug '17

Dehalococcoides abundance and alternate electron acceptor effects on large, flow-through trichloroethene dechlorinating columns.

Abstract: Trichloroethene (TCE) in groundwater is a major health concern and biostimulation/bioaugmentation-based strategies have been evaluated to achieve complete reductive dechlorination with varying success. Different carbon sources were hypothesized to stimulate different extents of TCE reductive dechlorination. Ecological conditions that developed different dechlorination stages were investigated by quantitating Dehalococcoides 16S rRNA (Dhc) and reductive dehalogenase gene abundance, and by describing biogeochemical properties of laboratory columns in response to this biostimulation. Eight large columns (183 cm × 15.2 cm), packed with aquifer material from Hill AFB, Utah, that were continuously fed TCE for 7.5 years. Duplicate columns were biostimulated with whey or one of two different Newman Zone® emulsified oil formulations containing either nonionic surfactant (EOLN) or standard surfactant (EOL). Two columns were non-stimulated controls. Complete (whey amended), partial (EOLN amended), limited (EOL), and non-TCE dehalogenating systems (controls) developed over the course of the study. Bioaugmentation of half of the columns with Bachman Road culture 3 years prior to dismantling did not influence the extent of TCE dehalogenation. Multivariate analysis clustered samples by biostimulation treatments and extent of TCE dehalogenation. Dhc, tceA, and bvcA gene concentrations did not show a consistent relationship with TCE dehalogenation but the vcrA gene was more abundant in completely dehalogenating, whey-treated columns. The whey columns developed strongly reducing conditions producing Fe(II), sulfide, and methane. Biostimulation with different carbon and energy sources can support high concentrations of diverse Dhc, but carbon addition has a major influence on biogeochemical processes effecting the extent of TCE dehalogenation.

Pub.: 06 Nov '15, Pinned: 07 Aug '17

Reductive dechlorination of tetrachloroethene in marine sediments: Biodiversity and dehalorespiring capabilities of the indigenous microbes.

Abstract: Chlorinated compounds pose environmental concerns due to their toxicity and wide distribution in several matrices. Microorganisms specialized in leading anaerobic reductive dechlorination (RD) processes, including Dehalococcoides mccartyi (Dhc), are able to reduce chlorinated compounds to harmless products or to less toxic forms. Here we report the first detailed study dealing with the RD potential of heavy polluted marine sediment by evaluating the biodegradation kinetics together with the composition, dynamics and activity of indigenous microbial population. A microcosm study was conducted under strictly anaerobic conditions on marine sediment collected near the marine coast of Sarno river mouth, one of the most polluted river in Europe. Tetrachloroethene (PCE), used as model pollutant, was completely converted to ethene within 150days at reductive dechlorination rate equal to 0.016meqL(-1)d(-1). Consecutive spikes of PCE allowed increasing the degradation kinetics up to 0.1meqL(-1)d(-1) within 20days. Strictly anaerobiosis and repeated spikes of PCE stimulated the growth of indigenous Dhc cells (growth yield of ~7.0E+07DhccellsperμMCl(-1) released). Dhc strains carrying the reductive dehalogenase genes tceA and vcrA were detected in the original marine sediment and their number increased during the treatment as demonstrated by the high level of tceA expression at the end of the microcosm study (2.41E+05tceAgenetranscriptsg(-1)). Notably, the structure of the microbial communities was fully described by Catalysed Reporter Deposition Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization (CARD-FISH) as wells as the dynamics of the dechlorinating bacteria during the microcosms operation. Interestingly, a direct role of Dhc cells was ascertained suggesting the existence of strains adapted at salinity conditions. Additionally, non-Dhc Chloroflexi were retrieved in the original sediment and were kept stable over time suggesting their likely flanking role of the RD process.

Pub.: 10 Jan '16, Pinned: 07 Aug '17

Reductive dehalogenation activity of indigenous microorganism in sediments of the Hackensack River, New Jersey.

Abstract: Organohalogen pollutants are of concern in many river and estuarine environments, such as the New York-New Jersey Harbor estuary and its tributaries. The Hackensack River is contaminated with various metals, hydrocarbons and halogenated organics, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins. In order to examine the potential for microbial reductive dechlorination by indigenous microorganisms, sediment samples were collected from five different estuarine locations along the Hackensack River. Hexachlorobenzene (HCB), hexabromobenzene (HBB), and pentachloroaniline (PCA) were selected as model organohalogen pollutants to assess anaerobic dehalogenating potential. Dechlorinating activity of HCB and PCA was observed in sediment microcosms for all sampling sites. HCB was dechlorinated via pentachlorobenzene (PeCB) and trichlorobenzene (TriCB) to dichlorobenzene (DCB). PCA was dechlorinated via tetrachloroaniline (TeCA), trichloroanilines (TriCA), and dichloroanilines (DCA) to monochloroaniline (MCA). No HBB debromination was observed over 12 months of incubation. However, with HCB as a co-substrate slow HBB debromination was observed with production of tetrabromobenzene (TeBB) and tribromobenzene (TriBB). Chloroflexi specific 16S rRNA gene PCR-DGGE followed by sequence analysis detected Dehalococcoides species in sediments of the freshwater location, but not in the estuarine site. Analysis targeting 12 putative reductive dehalogenase (rdh) genes showed that these were enriched concomitant with HCB or PCA dechlorination in freshwater sediment microcosms.

Pub.: 25 Apr '16, Pinned: 07 Aug '17

1,2-Dichloroethane Exposure Alters the Population Structure, Metabolism, and Kinetics of a Trichloroethene-Dechlorinating Dehalococcoides mccartyi Consortium

Abstract: Bioremediation of groundwater contaminated with chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons such as perchloroethene and trichloroethene can result in the accumulation of the undesirable intermediate vinyl chloride. Such accumulation can either be due to the absence of specific vinyl chloride respiring Dehalococcoides mccartyi or to the inhibition of such strains by the metabolism of other microorganisms. The fitness of vinyl chloride respiring Dehalococcoides mccartyi subpopulations is particularly uncertain in the presence of chloroethene/chloroethane cocontaminant mixtures, which are commonly found in contaminated groundwater. Therefore, we investigated the structure of Dehalococcoides populations in a continuously fed reactor system under changing chloroethene/ethane influent conditions. We observed that increasing the influent ratio of 1,2-dichloroethane to trichloroethene was associated with ecological selection of a tceA-containing Dehalococcoides population relative to a vcrA-containing Dehalococcoides population. Although both vinyl chloride and 1,2-dichloroethane could be simultaneously transformed to ethene, prolonged exposure to 1,2-dichloroethane diminished the vinyl chloride transforming capacity of the culture. Kinetic tests revealed that dechlorination of 1,2-dichloroethane by the consortium was strongly inhibited by cis-dichloroethene but not vinyl chloride. Native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry revealed that a trichloroethene reductive dehalogenase (TceA) homologue was the most consistently expressed of four detectable reductive dehalogenases during 1,2-dichloroethane exposure, suggesting that it catalyzes the reductive dihaloelimination of 1,2-dichloroethane to ethene.

Pub.: 03 Nov '16, Pinned: 07 Aug '17

Genomic characterization of Dehalococcoides mccartyi strain 11a5 reveals a circular extrachromosomal genetic element and a new tetrachloroethene reductive dehalogenase gene.

Abstract: Dehalococcoides mccartyi exhibits versatile capabilities to respire halogenated compounds under anaerobic conditions. In this study, we report the assembly and annotation of the complete genome of a chloroethene dechlorinating D. mccartyi strain 11a5. Bearing a 1,461,973 base-pair chromosome, strain 11a5 distinguishes itself from other D. mccartyi strains by possessing a 5,940 base-pair circular extrachromosomal genetic element which contains a reductive dehalogenase homolog. The whole genome of strain 11a5 harbors 31 putative reductive dehalogenase genes. Through transcriptional and proteomic analyses, we identified a new tetrachloroethene (PCE) reductive dehalogenase, PteA (11a5_1355), which catalyzes reductive dechlorination from PCE to trichloroethene (TCE) and shares only 38% similarity in amino acid sequence with its closest relative PceA in D. mccartyi strain 195. The acquisition of the genome of strain 11a5 enlarged the database of D. mccartyi and enriched our understanding of this unique species, among which, the identification of a new PCE reductive dehalogenase can assist in understanding PCE dechlorination process. In addition, the discovery of the circular extrachromosomal genetic element in strain 11a5 may provide insights to investigate how reductive dehalogenase homologous genes are transferred and carried by organohalide respiring bacteria.

Pub.: 20 Nov '16, Pinned: 07 Aug '17

Stable Isotope Probing Approaches to Study Anaerobic Hydrocarbon Degradation and Degraders.

Abstract: Stable isotope probing (SIP) techniques have become state-of-the-art in microbial ecology over the last 10 years, allowing for the targeted detection and identification of organisms, metabolic pathways and elemental fluxes active in specific processes within complex microbial communities. For studying anaerobic hydrocarbon-degrading microbial communities, four stable isotope techniques have been used so far: DNA/RNA-SIP, PLFA (phospholipid-derived fatty acids)-SIP, protein-SIP, and single-cell-SIP by nanoSIMS (nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry) or confocal Raman microscopy. DNA/RNA-SIP techniques are most frequently applied due to their most meaningful phylogenetic resolution. Especially using 13C-labeled benzene and toluene as model substrates, many new hydrocarbon degraders have been identified by SIP under various electron acceptor conditions. This has extended the current perspective of the true diversity of anaerobic hydrocarbon degraders relevant in the environment. Syntrophic hydrocarbon degradation was found to be a common mechanism for various electron acceptors. Fundamental concepts and recent advances in SIP are reflected here. A discussion is presented concerning how these techniques generate direct insights into intrinsic hydrocarbon degrader populations in environmental systems and how useful they are for more integrated approaches in the monitoring of contaminated sites and for bioremediation.

Pub.: 10 Mar '16, Pinned: 19 Jun '17

Occurrence of Dehalococcoides and Reductive Dehalogenase Genes in Microcosms, a Constructed Wetland and Groundwater from a Chlorinated Ethene Contaminated Field Site as Indicators for In Situ Reductive Dehalogenation

Abstract: Thus far, members of the genus Dehalococcoides are the only microorganisms known to dehalogenate chlorinated ethenes to ethene and thereby detoxify these common groundwater pollutants. Therefore, it is important to characterize the taxonomic and functional diversity of these key microorganisms and their reductive dehalogenase (RDase) genes in contaminated aquifers for assessing the natural attenuation potential. Little is known about the diversity of RDase genes under field conditions or in laboratory systems under selective pressure during dechlorination activities. Here, we evaluate the diversity of Dehalococcoides sp. and three RDase genes in groundwater as well as in water from a constructed wetland and microcosms setup with contaminated groundwater from the same field site in Bitterfeld (Saxony-Anhalt, Germany). The presence and relative abundance of Pinellas and Cornell subgroups of Dehalococcoides was evaluated by a novel direct sequencing method, which revealed that all sequences were identical and affiliated to the Pinellas subgroup. Contrarily, our results showed remarkable differences at the functional gene level between the systems. Of the vinyl chloride reductase genes, vcrA was detected in samples from the groundwater, wetland, and microcosms, whereas bvcA was only found in wetland and microcosm samples. The trichloroethene dehalogenase gene, tceA could not be detected at all, although complete dehalogenation activity of higher chlorinated ethenes was observed. Our study demonstrates that although the Dehalococcoides 16S rRNA gene sequences retrieved from the investigated systems were identical, the RDase gene diversity varied among the systems, according to the spectrum of the chlorinated ethenes present.

Pub.: 18 Oct '13, Pinned: 19 Jun '17

Selective enrichment yields robust ethene-producing dechlorinating cultures from microcosms stalled at cis-dichloroethene.

Abstract: Dehalococcoides mccartyi strains are of particular importance for bioremediation due to their unique capability of transforming perchloroethene (PCE) and trichloroethene (TCE) to non-toxic ethene, through the intermediates cis-dichloroethene (cis-DCE) and vinyl chloride (VC). Despite the widespread environmental distribution of Dehalococcoides, biostimulation sometimes fails to promote dechlorination beyond cis-DCE. In our study, microcosms established with garden soil and mangrove sediment also stalled at cis-DCE, albeit Dehalococcoides mccartyi containing the reductive dehalogenase genes tceA, vcrA and bvcA were detected in the soil/sediment inocula. Reductive dechlorination was not promoted beyond cis-DCE, even after multiple biostimulation events with fermentable substrates and a lengthy incubation. However, transfers from microcosms stalled at cis-DCE yielded dechlorination to ethene with subsequent enrichment cultures containing up to 10(9) Dehalococcoides mccartyi cells mL(-1). Proteobacterial classes which dominated the soil/sediment communities became undetectable in the enrichments, and methanogenic activity drastically decreased after the transfers. We hypothesized that biostimulation of Dehalococcoides in the cis-DCE-stalled microcosms was impeded by other microbes present at higher abundances than Dehalococcoides and utilizing terminal electron acceptors from the soil/sediment, hence, outcompeting Dehalococcoides for H2. In support of this hypothesis, we show that garden soil and mangrove sediment microcosms bioaugmented with their respective cultures containing Dehalococcoides in high abundance were able to compete for H2 for reductive dechlorination from one biostimulation event and produced ethene with no obvious stall. Overall, our results provide an alternate explanation to consolidate conflicting observations on the ubiquity of Dehalococcoides mccartyi and occasional stalling of dechlorination at cis-DCE; thus, bringing a new perspective to better assess biological potential of different environments and to understand microbial interactions governing bioremediation.

Pub.: 21 Jun '14, Pinned: 19 Jun '17

Dehalococcoides mccartyi strain DCMB5 Respires a broad spectrum of chlorinated aromatic compounds.

Abstract: Polyhalogenated aromatic compounds are harmful environmental contaminants and tend to persist in anoxic soils and sediments. Dehalococcoides mccartyi strain DCMB5, a strain originating from dioxin-polluted river sediment, was examined for its capacity to dehalogenate diverse chloroaromatic compounds. Strain DCMB5 used hexachlorobenzenes, pentachlorobenzenes, all three tetrachlorobenzenes, and 1,2,3-trichlorobenzene as well as 1,2,3,4-tetra- and 1,2,4-trichlorodibenzo-p-dioxin as electron acceptors for organohalide respiration. In addition, 1,2,3-trichlorodibenzo-p-dioxin and 1,3-, 1,2-, and 1,4-dichlorodibenzo-p-dioxin were dechlorinated, the latter to the nonchlorinated congener with a remarkably short lag phase of 1 to 4 days following transfer. Strain DCMB5 also dechlorinated pentachlorophenol and almost all tetra- and trichlorophenols. Tetrachloroethene was dechlorinated to trichloroethene and served as an electron acceptor for growth. To relate selected dechlorination activities to the expression of specific reductive dehalogenase genes, the proteomes of 1,2,3-trichlorobenzene-, pentachlorobenzene-, and tetrachloroethene-dechlorinating cultures were analyzed. Dcmb_86, an ortholog of the chlorobenzene reductive dehalogenase CbrA, was the most abundant reductive dehalogenase during growth with each electron acceptor, suggesting its pivotal role in organohalide respiration of strain DCMB5. Dcmb_1041 was specifically induced, however, by both chlorobenzenes, whereas 3 putative reductive dehalogenases, Dcmb_1434, Dcmb_1339, and Dcmb_1383, were detected only in tetrachloroethene-grown cells. The proteomes also harbored a type IV pilus protein and the components for its assembly, disassembly, and secretion. In addition, transmission electron microscopy of DCMB5 revealed an irregular mode of cell division as well as the presence of pili, indicating that pilus formation is a feature of D. mccartyi during organohalide respiration.

Pub.: 09 Nov '14, Pinned: 19 Jun '17

Dehalogenimonas sp. Strain WBC-2 Genome and Identification of Its trans-Dichloroethene Reductive Dehalogenase, TdrA.

Abstract: The Dehalogenimonas population in a dechlorinating enrichment culture referred to as WBC-2 was previously shown to be responsible for trans-dichloroethene (tDCE) hydrogenolysis to vinyl chloride (VC). In this study, blue native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (BN-PAGE) followed by enzymatic assays and protein identification using liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) led to the functional characterization of a novel dehalogenase, TdrA. This new reductive dehalogenase (RDase) catalyzes the dechlorination of tDCE to VC. A metagenome of the WBC-2 culture was sequenced, and a complete Dehalogenimonas genome, only the second Dehalogenimonas genome to become publicly available, was closed. The tdrA dehalogenase found within the Dehalogenimonas genome appears to be on a genomic island similar to genomic islands found in Dehalococcoides. TdrA itself is most similar to TceA from Dehalococcoides sp. strain FL2 with 76.4% amino acid pairwise identity. It is likely that the horizontal transfer of rdhA genes is not only a feature of Dehalococcoides but also a feature of other Dehalococcoidia, including Dehalogenimonas. A set of primers was developed to track tdrA in WBC-2 subcultures maintained on different electron acceptors. This newest dehalogenase is an addition to the short list of functionally defined RDases sharing the usual characteristic motifs (including an AB operon, a TAT export sequence, two iron-sulfur clusters, and a corrinoid binding domain), substrate flexibility, and evidence for horizontal gene transfer within the Dehalococcoidia.

Pub.: 11 Oct '15, Pinned: 19 Jun '17

Guided cobalamin biosynthesis supports Dehalococcoides mccartyi reductive dechlorination activity.

Abstract: Dehalococcoides mccartyi strains are corrinoid-auxotrophic Bacteria and axenic cultures that require vitamin B12 (CN-Cbl) to conserve energy via organohalide respiration. Cultures of D. mccartyi strains BAV1, GT and FL2 grown with limiting amounts of 1 µg l(-1) CN-Cbl quickly depleted CN-Cbl, and reductive dechlorination of polychlorinated ethenes was incomplete leading to vinyl chloride (VC) accumulation. In contrast, the same cultures amended with 25 µg l(-1) CN-Cbl exhibited up to 2.3-fold higher dechlorination rates, 2.8-9.1-fold increased growth yields, and completely consumed growth-supporting chlorinated ethenes. To explore whether known cobamide-producing microbes supply Dehalococcoides with the required corrinoid cofactor, co-culture experiments were performed with the methanogen Methanosarcina barkeri strain Fusaro and two acetogens, Sporomusa ovata and Sporomusa sp. strain KB-1, as Dehalococcoides partner populations. During growth with H2/CO2, M. barkeri axenic cultures produced 4.2 ± 0.1 µg l(-1) extracellular cobamide (factor III), whereas the Sporomusa cultures produced phenolyl- and p-cresolyl-cobamides. Neither factor III nor the phenolic cobamides supported Dehalococcoides reductive dechlorination activity suggesting that M. barkeri and the Sporomusa sp. cannot fulfil Dehalococcoides' nutritional requirements. Dehalococcoides dechlorination activity and growth occurred in M. barkeri and Sporomusa sp. co-cultures amended with 10 µM 5',6'-dimethylbenzimidazole (DMB), indicating that a cobalamin is a preferred corrinoid cofactor of strains BAV1, GT and FL2 when grown with chlorinated ethenes as electron acceptors. Even though the methanogen and acetogen populations tested did not produce cobalamin, the addition of DMB enabled guided biosynthesis and generated a cobalamin that supported Dehalococcoides' activity and growth. Guided cobalamin biosynthesis may offer opportunities to sustain and enhance Dehalococcoides activity in contaminated subsurface environments.

Pub.: 13 Mar '13, Pinned: 19 Jun '17

Stable carbon isotope enrichment factors for cis-1,2-dichloroethene and vinyl chloride reductive dechlorination by Dehalococcoides.

Abstract: Compound-specific stable isotope analysis (CSIA) is a promising tool for monitoring in situ microbial activity, and enrichment factors (ε values) determined using CSIA can be employed to estimate compound transformation. Although ε values for some dechlorination reactions catalyzed by Dehalococcoides (Dhc) have been reported, reproducibility between independent experiments, variability between different Dhc strains, and congruency between pure and mixed cultures are unknown. In experiments conducted with pure cultures of Dhc sp. strain BAV1, ε values for 1,1-DCE, cis-DCE, trans-DCE, and VC were -5.1, -14.9, -20.8, and -23.2‰, respectively. The ε value for 1,1-DCE dechlorination was 48.9% higher than the value reported in a previous study, but ε values for other chlorinated ethenes were equal between independent experiments. For the dechlorination of cis-DCE and VC by Dhc strains BAV1, FL2, GT, and VS, average ε values were -18.4 and -23.2‰, respectively. cis-DCE and VC ε values determined in pure Dhc cultures with different reductive dehalogenase genes (e.g., vcrA vs bvcA) varied by less than 36.8 and 8.3%, respectively. In the BDI consortium, ε values for cis-DCE and VC dechlorination were -25.3‰ and -19.9‰, 31.6% higher and 15.3% lower, respectively, compared to the average ε value for Dhc pure cultures. As cis-DCE and VC ε values are all within the same order-of-magnitude and fractionation is always measured during Dhc dechlorination, CSIA may be a valuable approach for monitoring in situ cis-DCE and VC reductive dechlorination.

Pub.: 12 Mar '11, Pinned: 19 Jun '17

The corrinoid cofactor of reductive dehalogenases affects dechlorination rates and extents in organohalide-respiring Dehalococcoides mccartyi.

Abstract: Corrinoid auxotrophic organohalide-respiring Dehalococcoides mccartyi (Dhc) strains are keystone bacteria for reductive dechlorination of toxic and carcinogenic chloroorganic contaminants. We demonstrate that the lower base attached to the essential corrinoid cofactor of reductive dehalogenase (RDase) enzyme systems modulates dechlorination activity and affects the vinyl chloride (VC) RDases BvcA and VcrA differently. Amendment of 5,6-dimethylbenzimidazolyl-cobamide (DMB-Cba) to Dhc strain BAV1 and strain GT cultures supported cis-1,2-dichloroethene-to-ethene reductive dechlorination at rates of 107.0 (±12.0) μM and 67.4 (±1.4) μM Cl(-) released per day, respectively. Strain BAV1, expressing the BvcA RDase, reductively dechlorinated VC to ethene, although at up to fivefold lower rates in cultures amended with cobamides carrying 5-methylbenzimidazole (5-MeBza), 5-methoxybenzimidazole (5-OMeBza) or benzimidazole (Bza) as the lower base. In contrast, strain GT harboring the VcrA RDase failed to grow and dechlorinate VC to ethene in medium amended with 5-OMeBza-Cba or Bza-Cba. The amendment with DMB to inactive strain GT cultures restored the VC-to-ethene-dechlorinating phenotype and intracellular DMB-Cba was produced, demonstrating cobamide uptake and remodeling. The distinct responses of Dhc strains with BvcA versus VcrA RDases to different cobamides implicate that the lower base exerts control over Dhc reductive dechlorination rates and extents (that is, detoxification), and therefore the dynamics of Dhc strains with discrete reductive dechlorination capabilities. These findings emphasize that the role of the corrinoid/lower base synthesizing community must be understood to predict strain-specific Dhc activity and achieve efficacious contaminated site cleanup.

Pub.: 12 Nov '15, Pinned: 19 Jun '17

Identification of a multi‐protein reductive dehalogenase complex in Dehalococcoides mccartyi strain CBDB1 suggests a protein‐dependent respiratory electron transport chain obviating quinone involvement

Abstract: Dehalococcoides mccartyi strain CBDB1 is an obligate organohalide‐respiring bacterium using only hydrogen as electron donor and halogenated organics as electron acceptor. Here, we studied proteins involved in the respiratory chain under non‐denaturing conditions. Using blue native gel electrophoresis (BN‐PAGE), gel filtration and ultrafiltration an active dehalogenating protein complex with a molecular mass of 250–270 kDa was identified. The active subunit of reductive dehalogenase (RdhA) colocalised with a complex iron‐sulfur molybdoenzyme (CISM) subunit (CbdbA195) and an iron‐sulfur cluster containing subunit (CbdbA131) of the hydrogen uptake hydrogenase (Hup). No colocalisation between the catalytically active subunits of hydrogenase and reductive dehalogenase was found. By two‐dimensional BN/SDS‐PAGE the stability of the complex towards detergents was assessed, demonstrating stepwise disintegration with increasing detergent concentrations. Chemical cross‐linking confirmed the presence of a higher molecular mass reductive dehalogenase protein complex composed of RdhA, CISM I and Hup hydrogenase and proved to be a potential tool for stabilising protein–protein interactions of the dehalogenating complex prior to membrane solubilisation. Taken together, the identification of the respiratory dehalogenase protein complex and the absence of indications for quinone participation in the respiration suggest a quinone‐independent protein‐based respiratory electron transfer chain in D. mccartyi.

Pub.: 16 Feb '16, Pinned: 19 Jun '17

Widespread Distribution of Dehalococcoides mccartyi in the Houston Ship Channel and Galveston Bay, Texas, Sediments and the Potential for Reductive Dechlorination of PCDD/F in an Estuarine Environment.

Abstract: Sediments in the Houston Ship Channel and upper Galveston Bay, Texas, USA, are polluted with polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins/furans (PCDD/F; ≤46,000 ng/kg dry weight (wt.)) with 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), the most toxic congener, contributing >50 % of the total toxic equivalents (TEQ) at most locations. We measured PCDD/F concentrations in sediments and evaluated the potential for enhanced in situ biodegradation by surveying for Dehalococcoides mccartyi, an obligate organohalide respiring bacterium. Dehalococcoides spp. (98 % similar to D. mccartyi) and 22 other members of the class Dehalococcoidia were predominant 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) phylotypes. Dehalococcoides spp. were also present in the active fraction of the bacterial community. Presence/absence PCR screening detected D. mccartyi in sediment cores and sediment grab samples having at least 1 ng/kg dry wt. TEQ at salinities ranging from 0.6 to 19.5 PSU, indicating that they are widespread in the estuarine environment. Organic carbon-only and organic carbon + sulfate-amended sediment microcosm experiments resulted in ∼60 % reduction of ambient 2,3,7,8-TCDD in just 24 months leading to reductions in total TEQs by 38.4 and 45.0 %, respectively, indicating that 2,3,7,8-TCDD degradation is occurring at appreciable rates.

Pub.: 16 Nov '16, Pinned: 19 Jun '17