Geochemistry and microbial diversity of a trichloroethene-contaminated Superfund site undergoing intrinsic in situ reductive dechlorination

Mary Lowe, Eugene L. Madsen, Karen Schindler, Courtney Smith, Scott Emrich, Frank Robb, Rolf U. Halden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study explored the geochemistry and microbial diversity of a Superfund site containing trichloroethene (TCE) and an unusual co-pollutant, tetrakis(2-ethylbutoxy)silane. Geochemical analysis of contaminated groundwater indicated subsurface anaerobiosis, reductive dechlorination of TCE to predominantly cis-1,2-dichloroethene, and (transient) accumulation of 2-ethylbutanol and 2-ethylbutyrate as a result of tetrakis(2-ethylbutoxy)silane breakdown. Comparative analysis of 106 16S rDNA and 61 16S-23S rDNA intergenic spacer region sequences - obtained from pristine and contaminated groundwater via DNA extraction, PCR amplification, cloning and sequencing - revealed that the contaminated groundwater featured (i) a distinct microbial community, (ii) reduced species diversity, (iii) various anaerobes, and (iv) bacteria closely related to the TCE-dechlorinating, dichloroethene-accumulating genus Dehalobacter, whereas (v) the TCE-dechlorinating, ethene-producing species Dehalococcoides ethenogenes was not detectable. Thus, geochemical and molecular biological results were in excellent agreement in this first ecological field study linking in situ reductive dechlorination of TCE to metabolism of tetraalkoxysilanes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-134
Number of pages12
JournalFEMS microbiology ecology
Volume40
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • 16S rDNA
  • 16S-23S intergenic spacer region
  • Bioremediation
  • Reductive dechlorination
  • Tetraalkoxysilane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Ecology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

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