Enrichment and properties of an anaerobic mixed culture reductively dechlorinating 1,2,3-trichlorobenzene to 1,3-dichlorobenzene.

C. Holliger, G. Schraa, A.J.M. Stams, A.J.B. Zehnder

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Hexachlorobenzene (HCB), pentachlorobenzene (QCB), all three isomers of tetrachlorobenzene (TeCB), 1,2,3-trichlorobenzene (1,2,3-TCB), and 1,2,4-TCB were reductively dechlorinated by enrichment cultures in the presence of lactate, glucose, ethanol, or isopropanol as the electron donor. The enrichment cultures originated from percolation columns filled with Rhine River sediment in which dechlorination of TCBs and dichlorobenzenes (DCBs) occurred. A stable consortium obtained by transfer on lactate as the energy and carbon source in the presence of 1,2,3-TCB dechlorinated this isomer stoichiometrically to 1,3-DCB. Dechlorinating activity could only be maintained when an electron donor was added. Lactate, ethanol, and hydrogen appeared to be the best substrates. Optimal temperature and pH for dechlorination were 30 degrees C and 7.2, respectively. The specificity of the enrichment on lactate and 1,2,3-TCB was tested after approximately 60 transfers (after 2.5 years). HCB and QCB were stoichiometrically dechlorinated to 1,3,5-TCB and minor amounts of 1,2,4-TCB. 1,3,5-TCB was the sole product formed from 1,2,3,5-TeCB, while 1,2,3,4-TeCB and 1,2,4,5-TeCB were converted to 1,2,4-TCB. 1,2,4-TCB, 1,3,5-TCB, and the three isomers of DCB were not dechlorinated during 4 weeks of incubation. For further enrichment of the 1,2,3-TCB-dechlorinating bacteria, a two-liquid-phase (hexadecane-water) system was used with hydrogen as the electron donor and 1,2,3-TCB or CO2 as the electron acceptor. Methanogens and acetogens were the major substrate-competing (H2-CO2) microorganisms in the two-liquid-phase system. Inhibition of methanogenesis by 2-bromoethanesulfonic acid did not influence dechlorination, and acetogens which were isolated from the enrichment culture did not have dechlorinating activity.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1636-1644
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1992


  • anaerobes
  • bacteria
  • benzene
  • derivatives
  • degradation
  • metabolism
  • microorganisms
  • organochlorine compounds


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