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Characterization of anaerobic chloroethene-dehalogenating activity in several subsurface sediments

Description: Anaerobic microcosms of subsurface soils from four locations were used to investigate the separate effects of several electron donors on tetrachloroethylene (PCE) dechlorination activity. The substrates tested were methanol, formate, lactate, acetate, and sucrose. Various levels of sulfate-reducing, acetogenic, fermentative, and methanogenic activity were observed in all sediments. PCE dechlorination was detected in all microcosms, but the amount of dehalogenation varied by several orders of magnitude. Trichloroethylene was the primary dehalogenation product; however, small amounts of cis-1,2-dichloroethylene, 1,1-dichloroethylene, and vinyl chloride were also detected in several microcosms. Lactate-amended microcosms showed large amounts of dehalogenation. in three of the four sediments. One of the two sediments which showed positive activity with lactate also had large amounts of delialogenation with methanol. Sucrose, formate, and acetate also stimulated large amounts of delialogenation in one sediment that showed activity with lactate. These results suggest that lactate may be an appropriate substrate for screening sediments for PCE or TCE delialogenation activity, but that the microbial response is not sufficient for complete in situ bioremediation. A detailed study of the Victoria activity revealed that delialogenation rates were more similar to the Cornell culture than to rates measured for methanogens, or a methanol-enriched sediment culture. This may suggest that these sediments contain a highly efficient delialogenation activity similar to the Cornell culture. This assertion is supported further by the fact that an average of 3% of added reducing equivalents could be diverted to dehalogenation in tests which were conducted using PCE-saturated hexadecane as a constant source of PCE during incubation. Further evidence is needed to confirm this premise. The application of these results to in situ bioremediation of highly contaminated areas are discussed.
Date: November 1, 1996
Creator: Skeen, R.S.; Gao, J.; Hooker, B.S. & Quesenberry, R.D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department