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1.  Complete genome sequence of Dehalogenimonas lykanthroporepellens type strain (BL-DC-9T) and comparison to “Dehalococcoides” strains 
Standards in Genomic Sciences  2012;6(2):251-264.
Dehalogenimonas lykanthroporepellens is the type species of the genus Dehalogenimonas, which belongs to a deeply branching lineage within the phylum Chloroflexi. This strictly anaerobic, mesophilic, non spore-forming, Gram-negative staining bacterium was first isolated from chlorinated solvent contaminated groundwater at a Superfund site located near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA. D. lykanthroporepellens was of interest for genome sequencing for two reasons: (a) an unusual ability to couple growth with reductive dechlorination of environmentally important polychlorinated aliphatic alkanes and (b) a phylogenetic position that is distant from previously sequenced bacteria. The 1,686,510 bp circular chromosome of strain BL-DC-9T contains 1,720 predicted protein coding genes, 47 tRNA genes, a single large subunit rRNA (23S-5S) locus, and a single, orphan, small subunit rRNA (16S) locus.
PMCID: PMC3387798  PMID: 22768368
reductive dechlorination; groundwater; strictly anaerobic; hydrogen utilization; contamination; Chloroflexi
2.  Characterization of a Dehalobacter Coculture That Dechlorinates 1,2-Dichloroethane to Ethene and Identification of the Putative Reductive Dehalogenase Gene▿  
Dehalobacter and “Dehalococcoides” spp. were previously shown to be involved in the biotransformation of 1,1,2-trichloroethane (1,1,2-TCA) and 1,2-dichloroethane (1,2-DCA) to ethene in a mixed anaerobic enrichment culture. Here we report the further enrichment and characterization of a Dehalobacter sp. from this mixed culture in coculture with an Acetobacterium sp. Through a series of serial transfers and dilutions with acetate, H2, and 1,2-DCA, a stable coculture of Acetobacterium and Dehalobacter spp. was obtained, where Dehalobacter grew during dechlorination. The isolated Acetobacterium strain did not dechlorinate 1,2-DCA. Quantitative PCR with specific primers showed that Dehalobacter cells did not grow in the absence of a chlorinated electron acceptor and that the growth yield with 1,2-DCA was 6.9 (±0.7) × 107 16S rRNA gene copies/μmol 1,2-DCA degraded. PCR with degenerate primers targeting reductive dehalogenase genes detected three distinct Dehalobacter/Desulfitobacterium-type sequences in the mixed-parent culture, but only one of these was present in the 1,2-DCA-H2 coculture. Reverse transcriptase PCR revealed the transcription of this dehalogenase gene specifically during the dechlorination of 1,2-DCA. The 1,2-DCA-H2 coculture could dechlorinate 1,2-DCA but not 1,1,2-TCA, nor could it dechlorinate chlorinated ethenes. As a collective, the genus Dehalobacter has been show to dechlorinate many diverse compounds, but individual species seem to each have a narrow substrate range.
PMCID: PMC2681677  PMID: 19270140
3.  A 1,1,1-Trichloroethane-Degrading Anaerobic Mixed Microbial Culture Enhances Biotransformation of Mixtures of Chlorinated Ethenes and Ethanes▿  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2006;72(12):7849-7856.
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.
PMCID: PMC1694251  PMID: 17056695
4.  Growth of Dehalobacter and Dehalococcoides spp. during Degradation of Chlorinated Ethanes 
Mixed anaerobic microbial subcultures enriched from a multilayered aquifer at a former chlorinated solvent disposal facility in West Louisiana were examined to determine the organism(s) involved in the dechlorination of the toxic compounds 1,2-dichloroethane (1,2-DCA) and 1,1,2-trichloroethane (1,1,2-TCA) to ethene. Sequences phylogenetically related to Dehalobacter and Dehalococcoides, two genera of anaerobic bacteria that are known to respire with chlorinated ethenes, were detected through cloning of bacterial 16S rRNA genes. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analysis of 16S rRNA gene fragments after starvation and subsequent reamendment of culture with 1,2-DCA showed that the Dehalobacter sp. grew during the dichloroelimination of 1,2-DCA to ethene, implicating this organism in degradation of 1,2-DCA in these cultures. Species-specific real-time quantitative PCR was further used to monitor proliferation of Dehalobacter and Dehalococcoides during the degradation of chlorinated ethanes and showed that in fact both microorganisms grew simultaneously during the degradation of 1,2-DCA. Conversely, Dehalobacter grew during the dichloroelimination of 1,1,2-TCA to vinyl chloride (VC) but not during the subsequent reductive dechlorination of VC to ethene, whereas Dehalococcoides grew only during the reductive dechlorination of VC but not during the dichloroelimination of 1,1,2-TCA. This demonstrated that in mixed cultures containing multiple dechlorinating microorganisms, these organisms can have either competitive or complementary dechlorination activities, depending on the chloro-organic substrate.
PMCID: PMC1352275  PMID: 16391074
5.  Phylogenetically Distinct Bacteria Involve Extensive Dechlorination of Aroclor 1260 in Sediment-Free Cultures 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e59178.
Microbial reductive dechlorination of the persistent polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) is attracting much attention in cleanup of the contaminated environment. Nevertheless, most PCB dechlorinating cultures require presence of sediment or sediment substitutes to maintain their dechlorination activities which hinders subsequent bacterial enrichment and isolation processes. The information on enriching sediment-free PCB dechlorinating cultures is still limited. In this study, 18 microcosms established with soils and sediments were screened for their dechlorination activities on a PCB mixture – Aroclor 1260. After one year of incubation, 10 out of 18 microcosms showed significant PCB dechlorination with distinct dechlorination patterns (e.g., Process H, N and T classified based on profiles of PCB congeners loss and new congeners formation). Through serial transfers in defined medium, six sediment-free PCB dechlorinating cultures (i.e., CW-4, CG-1, CG-3, CG-4, CG-5 and SG-1) were obtained without amending any sediment or sediment-substitutes. PCB dechlorination Process H was the most frequently observed dechlorination pattern, which was found in four sediment-free cultures (CW-4, CG-3, CG-4 and SG-1). Sediment-free culture CG-5 showed the most extensive PCB dechlorination among the six cultures, which was mediated by Process N, resulting in the accumulation of penta- (e.g., 236-24-CB) and tetra-chlorobiphenyls (tetra-CBs) (e.g., 24-24-CB, 24-25-CB, 24-26-CB and 25-26-CB) via dechlorinating 30.44% hepta-CBs and 59.12% hexa-CBs after three months of incubation. For culture CG-1, dechlorinators mainly attacked double flanked meta-chlorines and partially ortho-chlorines, which might represent a novel dechlorination pattern. Phylogenetic analysis showed distinct affiliation of PCB dechlorinators in the microcosms, including Dehalogenimonas and Dehalococcoides species. This study broadens our knowledge in microbial reductive dechlorination of PCBs, and provides essential information for culturing and stimulating PCB dechlorinators for in situ bioremediation applications.
PMCID: PMC3598663  PMID: 23554991
6.  Kinetics of 1,2-Dichloroethane and 1,2-Dibromoethane Biodegradation in Anaerobic Enrichment Cultures 
1,2-Dichloroethane (1,2-DCA) and 1,2-dibromoethane (ethylene dibromide [EDB]) contaminate groundwater at many hazardous waste sites. The objectives of this study were to measure yields, maximum specific growth rates (μ̂), and half-saturation coefficients (KS) in enrichment cultures that use 1,2-DCA and EDB as terminal electron acceptors and lactate as the electron donor and to evaluate if the presence of EDB has an effect on the kinetics of 1,2-DCA dehalogenation and vice versa. Biodegradation was evaluated at the high concentrations found at some industrial sites (>10 mg/liter) and at lower concentrations found at former leaded-gasoline sites (1.9 to 3.7 mg/liter). At higher concentrations, the Dehalococcoides yield was 1 order of magnitude higher when bacteria were grown with 1,2-DCA than when they were grown with EDB, while μ̂'s were similar for the two compounds, ranging from 0.19 to 0.52 day−1 with 1,2-DCA to 0.28 to 0.36 day−1 for EDB. KS was larger for 1,2-DCA (15 to 25 mg/liter) than for EDB (1.8 to 3.7 mg/liter). In treatments that received both compounds, EDB was always consumed first and adversely impacted the kinetics of 1,2-DCA utilization. Furthermore, 1,2-DCA dechlorination was interrupted by the addition of EDB at a concentration 100 times lower than that of the remaining 1,2-DCA; use of 1,2-DCA did not resume until the EDB level decreased close to its maximum contaminant level (MCL). In lower-concentration experiments, the preferential consumption of EDB over 1,2-DCA was confirmed; both compounds were eventually dehalogenated to their respective MCLs (5 μg/liter for 1,2-DCA, 0.05 μg/liter for EDB). The enrichment culture grown with 1,2-DCA has the advantage of a more rapid transition to 1,2-DCA after EDB is consumed.
PMCID: PMC3568614  PMID: 23263950
7.  Stereoselective Microbial Dehalorespiration with Vicinal Dichlorinated Alkanes 
The suspected carcinogen 1,2-dichloroethane (1,2-DCA) is the most abundant chlorinated C2 groundwater pollutant on earth. However, a reductive in situ detoxification technology for this compound does not exist. Although anaerobic dehalorespiring bacteria are known to catalyze several dechlorination steps in the reductive-degradation pathway of chlorinated ethenes and ethanes, no appropriate isolates that selectively and metabolically convert them into completely dechlorinated end products in defined growth media have been reported. Here we report on the isolation of Desulfitobacterium dichloroeliminans strain DCA1, a nutritionally defined anaerobic dehalorespiring bacterium that selectively converts 1,2-dichloroethane and all possible vicinal dichloropropanes and -butanes into completely dechlorinated end products. Menaquinone was identified as an essential cofactor for growth of strain DCA1 in pure culture. Strain DCA1 converts chiral chlorosubstrates, revealing the presence of a stereoselective dehalogenase that exclusively catalyzes an energy-conserving anti mechanistic dichloroelimination. Unlike any known dehalorespiring isolate, strain DCA1 does not carry out reductive hydrogenolysis reactions but rather exclusively dichloroeliminates its substrates. This unique dehalorespiratory biochemistry has shown promising application possibilities for bioremediation purposes and fine-chemical synthesis.
PMCID: PMC194954  PMID: 12957955
8.  A Novel Reductive Dehalogenase, Identified in a Contaminated Groundwater Enrichment Culture and in Desulfitobacterium dichloroeliminans Strain DCA1, Is Linked to Dehalogenation of 1,2-Dichloroethane▿  
A mixed culture dechlorinating 1,2-dichloroethane (1,2-DCA) to ethene was enriched from groundwater that had been subjected to long-term contamination. In the metagenome of the enrichment, a 7-kb reductive dehalogenase (RD) gene cluster sequence was detected by inverse and direct PCR. The RD gene cluster had four open reading frames (ORF) showing 99% nucleotide identity with pceB, pceC, pceT, and orf1 of Dehalobacter restrictus strain DSMZ 9455T, a bacterium able to dechlorinate chlorinated ethenes. However, dcaA, the ORF encoding the catalytic subunit, showed only 94% nucleotide and 90% amino acid identity with pceA of strain DSMZ 9455T. Fifty-three percent of the amino acid differences were localized in two defined regions of the predicted protein. Exposure of the culture to 1,2-DCA and lactate increased the dcaA gene copy number by 2 log units, and under these conditions the dcaA and dcaB genes were actively transcribed. A very similar RD gene cluster with 98% identity in the dcaA gene sequence was identified in Desulfitobacterium dichloroeliminans strain DCA1, the only known isolate that selectively dechlorinates 1,2-DCA but not chlorinated ethenes. The dcaA gene of strain DCA1 possesses the same amino acid motifs as the new dcaA gene. Southern hybridization using total genomic DNA of strain DCA1 with dcaA gene-specific and dcaB- and pceB-targeting probes indicated the presence of two identical or highly similar dehalogenase gene clusters. In conclusion, these data suggest that the newly described RDs are specifically adapted to 1,2-DCA dechlorination.
PMCID: PMC1892866  PMID: 17351102
9.  Degradation of chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons by Methylosinus trichosporium OB3b expressing soluble methane monooxygenase. 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  1989;55(11):2819-2826.
Degradation of trichloroethylene (TCE) by the methanotrophic bacterium Methylosinus trichosporium OB3b was studied by using cells grown in continuous culture. TCE degradation was a strictly cometabolic process, requiring the presence of a cosubstrate, preferably formate, and oxygen. M. trichosporium OB3b cells degraded TCE only when grown under copper limitation and when the soluble methane monooxygenase was derepressed. During TCE degradation, nearly total dechlorination occurred, as indicated by the production of inorganic chloride, and only traces of 2,2,2-trichloroethanol and trichloroacetaldehyde were produced. TCE degradation proceeded according to first-order kinetics from 0.1 to 0.0002 mM TCE with a rate constant of 2.14 ml min-1 mg of cells-1. TCE concentrations above 0.2 mM inhibited degradation in cell suspensions of 0.42 mg of cells ml-1. Other chlorinated aliphatics were also degraded by M. trichosporium OB3b. Dichloromethane, chloroform, 1,1-dichloroethane, and 1,2-dichloroethane were completely degraded, with the release of stoichiometric amounts of chloride. trans-1,2-Dichloroethylene, cis-1,2-dichloroethylene, and 1,2-dichloropropane were completely converted, but not all the chloride was released because of the formation of chlorinated intermediates, e.g., trans-2,3-dichlorooxirane, cis-2,3-dichlorooxirane, and 2,3-dichloropropanol, respectively. 1,1,1-Trichloroethane, 1,1-dichloroethylene, and 1,3-dichloropropylene were incompletely converted, and the first compound yielded 2,2,2-trichloroethanol as a chlorinated intermediate. The two perchlorinated compounds tested, carbon tetrachloride and tetrachloroethylene, were not converted.
PMCID: PMC203175  PMID: 2624462
10.  Transformations of 1- and 2-carbon halogenated aliphatic organic compounds under methanogenic conditions. 
Several 1- and 2-carbon halogenated aliphatic organic compounds present at low concentrations (less than 100 micrograms/liter) were degraded under methanogenic conditions in batch bacterial cultures and in a continuous-flow methanogenic fixed-film laboratory-scale column. Greater than 90% degradation was observed within a 2-day detention time under continuous-flow methanogenic conditions with acetate as a primary substrate. Carbon-14 measurements indicated that chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, and 1,2-dichloroethane were almost completely oxidized to carbon dioxide, confirming removal by biooxidation. The initial step in the transformations of tetrachloroethylene and 1,1,2,2-tetrachloroethane to nonchlorinated end products appeared to be reductive dechlorination to trichloroethylene and 1,1,2-trichloroethane, respectively. Transformations of the brominated aliphatic compounds appear to be the result of both biological and chemical processes. The data suggest that transformations of halogenated aliphatic compounds can occur under methanogenic conditions in the environment.
PMCID: PMC242452  PMID: 6859849
11.  Complete Reductive Dechlorination of 1,2-Dichloropropane by Anaerobic Bacteria 
The transformation of 1,2-dichloropropane (1,2-D) was observed in anaerobic microcosms and enrichment cultures derived from Red Cedar Creek sediment. 1-Chloropropane (1-CP) and 2-CP were detected after an incubation period of 4 weeks. After 4 months the initial amount of 1,2-D was stoichiometrically converted to propene, which was not further transformed. Dechlorination of 1,2-D was not inhibited by 2-bromoethanesulfonate. Sequential 5% (vol/vol) transfers from active microcosms yielded a sediment-free, nonmethanogenic culture, which completely dechlorinated 1,2-D to propene at a rate of 5 nmol min(sup-1) mg of protein(sup-1). No intermediate formation of 1-CP or 2-CP was detected in the sediment-free enrichment culture. A variety of electron donors, including hydrogen, supported reductive dechlorination of 1,2-D. The highest dechlorination rates were observed between 20(deg) and 25(deg)C. In the presence of 1,2-D, the hydrogen threshold concentration was below 1 ppm by volume (ppmv). In addition to 1,2-D, the enrichment culture transformed 1,1-D, 2-bromo-1-CP, tetrachloroethene, 1,1,2,2-tetrachloroethane, and 1,2-dichloroethane to less halogenated compounds. These findings extend our knowledge of the reductive dechlorination process and show that halogenated propanes can be completely dechlorinated by anaerobic bacteria.
PMCID: PMC1389209  PMID: 16535654
12.  Regiospecific dechlorination of pentachlorophenol by dichlorophenol-adapted microorganisms in freshwater, anaerobic sediment slurries. 
The reductive dechlorination of pentachlorophenol (PCP) was investigated in anaerobic sediments that contained nonadapted or 2,4- or 3,4-dichlorophenol (DCP)-adapted microbial communities. Adaptation of sediment communities increased the rate of conversion of 2,4- or 3,4-DCP to monochlorophenols (CPs) and eliminated the lag phase before dechlorination was observed. Both 2,4- and 3,4-DCP-adapted sediment communities dechlorinated the six DCP isomers to CPs. The specificity of chlorine removal from the DCP isomers indicated a preference for ortho-chlorine removal by 2,4-DCP-adapted sediment communities and for para-chlorine removal by 3,4-DCP-adapted sediment communities. Sediment slurries containing nonadapted microbial communities either did not dechlorinate PCP or did so following a lag phase of at least 40 days. Sediment communities adapted to dechlorinate 2,4- or 3,4-DCP dechlorinated PCP without an initial lag phase. The 2,4-DCP-adapted communities initially removed the ortho-chlorine from PCP, whereas the 3,4-DCP-adapted communities initially removed the para-chlorine from PCP. A 1:1 mixture of the adapted sediment communities also dechlorinated PCP without a lag phase. Dechlorination by the mixture was regiospecific, following a para greater than ortho greater than meta order of chlorine removal. Intermediate products of degradation, 2,3,5,6-tetrachlorophenol, 2,3,5-trichlorophenol, 3,5-DCP, 3-CP, and phenol, were identified by a combination of cochromatography (high-pressure liquid chromatography) with standards and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.
PMCID: PMC183566  PMID: 1768102
13.  Characterization of Desulfitobacterium chlororespirans sp. nov., which grows by coupling the oxidation of lactate to the reductive dechlorination of 3-chloro-4-hydroxybenzoate. 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  1996;62(10):3800-3808.
Strain Co23, an anaerobic spore-forming microorganism, was enriched and isolated from a compost soil on the basis of its ability to grow with 2,3-dichlorophenol (DCP) as its electron acceptor, ortho chlorines were removed from polysubstituted phenols but not from monohalophenols. Growth by chlororespiration was indicated by a growth yield of 3.24 g of cells per mol of reducing equivalents (as 2[H]) from lactate oxidation to acetate in the presence of 3-chloro-4-hydroxybenzoate but no growth in the absence of the halogenated electron acceptor. Other indicators of chlororespiration were the fraction of electrons from the electron donor used for dechlorination (0.67) and the H2 threshold concentration of < 1.0 ppm. Additional electron donors utilized for reductive dehalogenation were pyruvate, formate, butyrate, crotonate, and H2. Pyruvate supported homoacetogenic growth in the absence of an electron acceptor. Strain Co23 also used sulfite, thiosulfate, and sulfur as electron acceptors for growth, but it did not use sulfate, nitrate or fumarate. The temperature optimum for growth was 37 degrees C; however, the rates of dechlorination were optimum at 45 degrees C and activity persisted to temperatures as high as 55 degrees C. The 16S rRNA sequence was determined, and strain Co23 was found to be related to Desulfitobacterium dehalogenans JW/IU DC1 and Desulfitobacterium strain PCE1, with sequence similarities of 97.2 and 96.8%, respectively. The phylogenetic and physiological properties exhibited by strain Co23 place it into a new species designated Desulfitobacterium chlororespirans.
PMCID: PMC168189  PMID: 8837437
14.  Transformations of halogenated organic compounds under denitrification conditions. 
Trihalomethanes, carbon tetrachloride, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, 1,2-dibromoethane, chlorinated benzenes, ethylbenzene, and naphthalene at concentrations commonly found in surface and groundwater were incubated under anoxic conditions to study their transformability in the presence of denitrifying bacteria. None of the aromatic compounds showed significant utilization relative to sterile controls at initial concentrations from 41 to 114 micrograms/liter after 11 weeks of incubation. Of the halogenated aliphatic compounds studied, transformations of carbon tetrachloride and brominated trihalomethanes were observed after 8 weeks in batch denitrification cultures. Carbon from the decomposition of carbon tetrachloride was both assimilated into cell material and mineralized to carbon dioxide. How this was possible remains unexplained, since carbon tetrachloride is transformed to CO2 by hydrolysis and not by oxidation-reduction. Chloroform was detected in bacterial cultures with carbon tetrachloride initially present, indicating that reductive dechlorination had occurred in addition to hydrolysis. The data suggest that transformations of certain halogenated aliphatic compounds are likely to occur under denitrification conditions in the environment.
PMCID: PMC242453  PMID: 6859850
15.  Bacterial diversity and reductive dehalogenase redundancy in a 1,2-dichloroethane-degrading bacterial consortium enriched from a contaminated aquifer 
Bacteria possess a reservoir of metabolic functionalities ready to be exploited for multiple purposes. The use of microorganisms to clean up xenobiotics from polluted ecosystems (e.g. soil and water) represents an eco-sustainable and powerful alternative to traditional remediation processes. Recent developments in molecular-biology-based techniques have led to rapid and accurate strategies for monitoring and identification of bacteria and catabolic genes involved in the degradation of xenobiotics, key processes to follow up the activities in situ.
We report the characterization of the response of an enriched bacterial community of a 1,2-dichloroethane (1,2-DCA) contaminated aquifer to the spiking with 5 mM lactate as electron donor in microcosm studies. After 15 days of incubation, the microbial community structure was analyzed. The bacterial 16S rRNA gene clone library showed that the most represented phylogenetic group within the consortium was affiliated with the phylum Firmicutes. Among them, known degraders of chlorinated compounds were identified. A reductive dehalogenase genes clone library showed that the community held four phylogenetically-distinct catalytic enzymes, all conserving signature residues previously shown to be linked to 1,2-DCA dehalogenation.
The overall data indicate that the enriched bacterial consortium shares the metabolic functionality between different members of the microbial community and is characterized by a high functional redundancy. These are fundamental features for the maintenance of the community's functionality, especially under stress conditions and suggest the feasibility of a bioremediation treatment with a potential prompt dehalogenation and a process stability over time.
PMCID: PMC2834577  PMID: 20170484
16.  Identification and Characterization of a Novel CprA Reductive Dehalogenase Specific to Highly Chlorinated Phenols from Desulfitobacterium hafniense Strain PCP-1▿  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2010;76(22):7536-7540.
Desulfitobacterium hafniense strain PCP-1 reductively dechlorinates pentachlorophenol (PCP) to 3-chlorophenol and a variety of halogenated aromatic compounds at the ortho, meta, and para positions. Several reductive dehalogenases (RDases) are thought to be involved in this cascade of dehalogenation. We partially purified a novel RDase involved in the dechlorination of highly chlorinated phenols from strain PCP-1 cultivated in the presence of 2,4,6-trichlorophenol. The RDase was membrane associated, and the activity was sensitive to oxygen, with a half-life of 128 min upon exposure to air. The pH and temperature optima were 7.0 and 55°C, respectively. Several highly chlorinated phenols were dechlorinated at the ortho positions. The highest dechlorinating activity levels were observed with PCP, 2,3,4,5-tetrachlorophenol, and 2,3,4-trichlorophenol. 3-Chloro-4-hydroxyphenylacetate, 3-chloro-4-hydroxybenzoate, dichlorophenols, and monochlorophenols were not dechlorinated. The apparent Km value for PCP was 46.7 μM at a methyl viologen concentration of 2 mM. A mixture of iodopropane and titanium citrate caused a light-reversible inhibition of the dechlorinating activity, suggesting the involvement of a corrinoid cofactor. Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of the partially purified preparation revealed 2 bands with apparent molecular masses of 42 and 47 kDa. Mass spectrometry analysis using Mascot to search the genome sequence of D. hafniense strain DCB-2 identified the 42-kDa band as NADH-quinone oxidoreductase, subunit D, and the 47-kDa band as the putative chlorophenol RDase CprA3. This is the first report of an RDase with high affinity and high dechlorinating activity toward PCP.
PMCID: PMC2976209  PMID: 20870790
17.  Specificity of reductive dehalogenation of substituted ortho-chlorophenols by Desulfitobacterium dehalogenans JW/IU-DC1. 
Resting cells of Desulfitobacterium dehalogenans JW/IU-DC1 growth with pyruvate and 3-chloro-4-hydroxyphenylacetate (3-Cl-4-OHPA) as the electron acceptor and inducer of dehalogenation reductively ortho-dehalogenate pentachlorophenol (PCP); tetrachlorophenols (TeCPs); the trichlorophenols 2,3,4-TCP, 2,3,6-TCP, and 2,4,6-TCP; the dichlorophenols 2,3-DCP, 2,4-DCP, and 2,6-DCP; 2,6-dichloro-4-R-phenols (2,6-DCl-4-RPs, where R is -H, -F, -Cl, -NO2, -CO2, or -COOCH3; 2-chloro-4-R-phenols (2-Cl-4-RPs, where R is -H, -F, -Cl, -Br, -NO2, -CO2-, -CH2CO2, or -COOCH3); and the bromophenols 2-BrP, 2,6-DBrP, and 2-Br-4ClP [corrected]. Monochlorophenols, the dichlorophenols 2,5-DCP, 3,4-DCP, and 3,5-DCP, the trichlorophenols 2,3,5-TCP, 2,4,5-TCP, and 3,4,5-TCP, and the fluorinated analog of 3-Cl-4-OHPA, 3-F-4-OHPA ("2-F-4-CH2CO2- P"), are not dehalogenated. A chlorine substituent in position 3 (meta), 4 (para), or 6 (second ortho) of the phenolic moiety facilitates ortho dehalogenation in position 2. Chlorine in the 5 (second meta) position has a negative effect on the dehalogenation rate or even prevents dechlorination in the 2 position. In general, 2,6-DCl-4-RPs are dechlorinated faster than the corresponding 2-Cl-4-RPs with the same substituent R in the 4 position. The highest dechlorination rate, however, was found for dechlorination of 2,3-DCP, with a maximal observed first-order rate constant of 19.4 h-1 g (dry weight) of biomass-1.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
PMCID: PMC167288  PMID: 7887614
18.  Microbial Reductive Dechlorination of Aroclor 1260 in Baltimore Harbor Sediment Microcosms Is Catalyzed by Three Phylotypes within the Phylum Chloroflexi▿  
The specific dechlorination pathways for Aroclor 1260 were determined in Baltimore Harbor sediment microcosms developed with the 11 most predominant congeners from this commercial mixture and their resulting dechlorination intermediates. Most of the polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners were dechlorinated in the meta position, and the major products were tetrachlorobiphenyls with unflanked chlorines. Using PCR primers specific for the 16S rRNA genes of known PCB-dehalogenating bacteria, we detected three phylotypes within the microbial community that had the capability to dechlorinate PCB congeners present in Aroclor 1260 and identified their selective activities. Phylotype DEH10, which has a high level of sequence identity to Dehalococcoides spp., removed the double-flanked chlorine in 234-substituted congeners and exhibited a preference for para-flanked meta-chlorines when no double-flanked chlorines were available. Phylotype SF1 had similarity to the o-17/DF-1 group of PCB-dechlorinating bacteria. Phylotype SF1 dechlorinated all of the 2345-substituted congeners, mostly in the double-flanked meta position and 2356-, 236-, and 235-substituted congeners in the ortho-flanked meta position, with a few exceptions. A phylotype with 100% sequence identity to PCB-dechlorinating bacterium o-17 was responsible for an ortho and a double-flanked meta dechlorination reaction. Most of the dechlorination pathways supported the growth of all three phylotypes based on competitive PCR enumeration assays, which indicates that PCB-impacted environments have the potential to sustain populations of these PCB-dechlorinating microorganisms. The results demonstrate that the variation in dechlorination patterns of congener mixtures typically observed at different PCB impacted sites can potentially be mediated by the synergistic activities of relatively few dechlorinating species.
PMCID: PMC1892865  PMID: 17351091
19.  Two anaerobic polychlorinated biphenyl-dehalogenating enrichments that exhibit different para-dechlorination specificities. 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  1997;63(12):4826-4832.
Two anaerobic polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)-dechlorinating enrichments with distinct substrate specificities were obtained: a 2,3,4,6-tetrachlorobiphenyl (2346-CB) para-dechlorinating enrichment derived from Aroclor 1260-contaminated Woods Pond (Lenox, Mass.) sediment and a 2,4,6-trichlorobiphenyl (246-CB) unflanked para-dechlorinating enrichment derived from PCB-free Sandy Creek Nature Center (Athens, Ga.) sediment. The enrichments have been successfully transferred to autoclaved soil slurries over 20 times by using 300 to 350 microM 2346-CB or 246-CB. Both enrichments required soil for successful transfer of dechlorination activity. The 2346-CB enrichment para dehalogenated, in the absence or presence of 2346-CB, only 4 of 25 tested para halogen-containing congeners: 234-CB, 2345-CB, 2346-CB, and 2,4,6-tribromobiphenyl (246-BrB). In the presence of 246-CB, the 246-CB enrichment para dehalogenated 23 of the 25 tested congeners. However, only three congeners (34-CB, 2346-CB, and 246-BrB) were dehalogenated in the absence of 246-CB, indicating that these specific congeners initiate dehalogenation in this enrichment culture. The addition of the 2346-CB (para)-dechlorinating enrichment did not further stimulate the 2346-CB-primed dechlorination of the Aroclor 1260 residue in Woods Pond sediment samples. Compared to the addition of the primer 246-CB or the 246-CB unflanked para-dechlorinating enrichment alone, the addition of both 246-CB (300 microM) and the 246-CB enrichment stimulated the unflanked para dechlorination of the Aroclor 1260 residue in Woods Pond sediments. These results indicate that the two enrichments contain different PCB-dechlorinating organisms, each with high substrate specificities. Furthermore, bioaugmentation with the enrichment alone did not stimulate the desired dechlorination in PCB-contaminated Woods Pond sediment.
PMCID: PMC168807  PMID: 9406402
20.  Purification and characterization of hydrolytic haloalkane dehalogenase from Xanthobacter autotrophicus GJ10. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1985;163(2):635-639.
A new enzyme, haloalkane dehalogenase, was isolated from the 1,2-dichloroethane-utilizing bacterium Xanthobacter autotrophicus GJ10. The purified enzyme catalyzed the hydrolytic dehalogenation of n-halogenated C1 to C4 alkanes, including chlorinated, brominated, and iodinated compounds. The highest activity was found with 1,2-dichloroethane, 1,3-dichloropropane, and 1,2-dibromoethane. The enzyme followed Michaelis-Menten kinetics, and the Km for 1,2-dichloroethane was 1.1 mM. Maximum activity was found at pH 8.2 and 37 degrees C. Thiol reagents such as p-chloromercuribenzoate and iodoacetamide rapidly inhibited the enzyme. The protein consists of a single polypeptide chain of a molecular weight of 36,000, and its amino acid composition and N-terminal sequence are given.
PMCID: PMC219169  PMID: 4019411
21.  Detection and Quantification of Dehalogenimonas and “Dehalococcoides” Populations via PCR-Based Protocols Targeting 16S rRNA Genes▿ †  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2009;75(23):7560-7564.
Members of the haloalkane dechlorinating genus Dehalogenimonas are distantly related to “Dehalococcoides” but share high homology in some variable regions of their 16S rRNA gene sequences. In this study, primers and PCR protocols intended to uniquely target Dehalococcoides were reevaluated, and primers and PCR protocols intended to uniquely target Dehalogenimonas were developed and tested. Use of the genus-specific primers revealed the presence of both bacterial groups in groundwater at a Louisiana Superfund site.
PMCID: PMC2786429  PMID: 19820163
22.  Optimization of electrochemical dechlorination of trichloroethylene in reducing electrolytes 
Water Research  2012;46(6):1847-1857.
Electrochemical dechlorination of trichloroethylene (TCE) in aqueous solution is investigated in a closed, liquid-recirculation system. The anodic reaction of cast iron generates ferrous species, creating a chemically reducing electrolyte (negative ORP value). The reduction of TCE on the cathode surface is enhanced under this reducing electrolyte because of the absence of electron competition. In the presence of the iron anode, the performances of different cathodes are compared in a recirculated electrolysis system. The copper foam shows superior capability for dechlorination of aqueous TCE. Electrolysis by cast iron anode and copper foam cathode is further optimized though a multivariable experimental design and analysis. The conductivity of the electrolyte is identified as an important factor for both final elimination efficiency (FEE) of TCE and specific energy consumption. The copper foam electrode exhibits high TCE elimination efficiency in a wide range of initial TCE concentration. Under coulostatic conditions, the optimal conditions to achieve the highest FEE are 9.525 mm thick copper foam electrode, 40 mA current and 0.042 mol L−1 Na2SO4. This novel electrolysis system is proposed to remediate groundwater contaminated by chlorinated organic solvents, or as an improved iron electrocoagulation process capable of treating the wastewater co-contaminated with chlorinated compounds.
PMCID: PMC3288245  PMID: 22264798
Electrochemical dechlorination; TCE; iron anode; foam electrode; optimization
23.  Methyl-coenzyme M reductase of Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum delta H catalyzes the reductive dechlorination of 1,2-dichloroethane to ethylene and chloroethane. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1992;174(13):4435-4443.
Reductive dechlorination of 1,2-dichloroethane (1,2-DCA) to ethylene and chloroethane (CA) by crude cell extracts of Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum delta H with H2 as the electron donor was stimulated by Mg-ATP. The heterodisulfide of coenzyme M (CoM) and 7-mercaptoheptanoylthreonine phosphate together with Mg-ATP partially inhibited ethylene production but stimulated CA production compared Mg-ATP alone. The pH optimum for the dechlorination was 6.8 (at 60 degrees C). Michaelis-Menten kinetics for initial product formation rates with different 1,2-DCA concentrations indicated the enzymatic character of the dechlorination. Apparent Kms for 1,2-DCA of 89 and 119 microM and Vmaxs of 34 and 20 pmol/min/mg of protein were estimated for ethylene and CA production, respectively. 3-Bromopropanesulfonate, a specific inhibitor for methyl-CoM reductase, completely inhibited dechlorination of 1,2-DCA. Purified methyl-CoM reductase, together with flavin adenine dinucleotide and a crude component A fraction which reduced the nickel of factor F430 in methyl-CoM reductase, converted 1,2-DCA to ethylene and CA with H2 as the electron donor. In this system, methyl-CoM reductase was also able to transform its own inhibitor 2-bromoethanesulfonate to ethylene.
PMCID: PMC206229  PMID: 1624435
24.  Enhanced reductive dechlorination of polychlorinated biphenyl impacted sediment by bioaugmentation with a dehalorespiring bacterium 
Environmental science & technology  2011;45(20):8772-8779.
Anaerobic reductive dehalogenation of commercial PCBs such as Aroclor 1260 has a critical role of transforming highly chlorinated congeners to less chlorinated congeners that are then susceptible to aerobic degradation. The efficacy of bioaugmentation with the dehalorespiring bacterium “Dehalobium chlorocoercia” DF1 was tested in 2-liter laboratory mesocosms containing sediment contaminated with weathered Aroclor 1260 (1.3 ppm) from Baltimore Harbor, MD. Total penta- and higher chlorinated PCBs decreased by approximately 56% (by mass) in bioaugmented mesocosms after 120 days compared with no activity observed in unamended controls. Bioaugmentation with DF-1 enhanced the dechlorination of doubly flanked chlorines and stimulated the dechlorination of single flanked chlorines as a result of an apparent synergistic effect on the indigenous population. Addition of granulated activated carbon had a slight stimulatory effect indicating that anaerobic reductive dechlorination of PCBs at low concentrations was not inhibited by a high background of inorganic carbon that could affect bioavailability. The total number of dehalorespiring bacteria was reduced by approximately half after 60 days. However, a steady state level was maintained that was greater than the indigenous population of putative dehalorespiring bacteria in untreated sediments and DF1 was maintained within the indigenous population after 120 days. The results of this study demonstrate that bioaugmentation with dehalorespiring bacteria has a stimulatory effect on the dechlorination of weathered PCBs and supports the feasibility of using in situ bioaugmentation as an environmentally less invasive and lower cost alternate to dredging for treatment of PCB impacted sediments.
PMCID: PMC3210572  PMID: 21902247
25.  Kinetics of biotransformation of 1,1,1-trichloroethane by Clostridium sp. strain TCAIIB. 
Batch experiments were conducted to examine the effects of high concentrations of 1,1,1-trichloroethane (TCA) on the biotransformation of TCA by Clostridium sp. strain TCAIIB. The biotic dehalogenation of TCA to 1,1-dichloroethane by nongrowing cells was measured at 35 degrees C, and the data were used to obtain the kinetic parameters of the Monod relationship half-velocity coefficient Ks (31 microM) and the coefficient of maximum rate of TCA biotransformation (kTCA; 0.28 mumol per mg per day). The yield of biomass decreased with an increase in the TCA concentration, although TCA concentrations up to 750 microM did not completely inhibit bacterial growth. Also, kTCA was higher in the presence of high concentrations of TCA. A mathematical model based on a modified Monod equation was used to describe the biotransformation of TCA. The abiotic transformation of TCA to 1,1-dichloroethene was measured at 35 degrees C, and the first-order formation rate coefficient for 1,1-dichloroethene (ke) was determined to be 0.86 per year.
PMCID: PMC184212  PMID: 2729986

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