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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2008 Apr;74(7):2089-94. doi: 10.1128/AEM.01450-07. Epub 2008 Jan 25.

Dehalorespiration with polychlorinated biphenyls by an anaerobic ultramicrobacterium.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Marine Biomedicine & Environmental Science Center, 225 BSB, P.O. Box 250504, Medical University of South Carolina, 173 Ashley Avenue, Charleston, SC 29425, USA.


Anaerobic microbial dechlorination is an important step in the detoxification and elimination of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), but a microorganism capable of coupling its growth to PCB dechlorination has not been isolated. Here we describe the isolation from sediment of an ultramicrobacterium, strain DF-1, which is capable of dechlorinating PCBs containing double-flanked chlorines added as single congeners or as Aroclor 1260 in contaminated soil. The isolate requires Desulfovibrio spp. in coculture or cell extract for growth on hydrogen and PCB in mineral medium. This is the first microorganism in pure culture demonstrated to grow by dehalorespiration with PCBs and the first isolate shown to dechlorinate weathered commercial mixtures of PCBs in historically contaminated sediments. The ability of this isolate to grow on PCBs in contaminated sediments represents a significant breakthrough for the development of in situ treatment strategies for this class of persistent organic pollutants.

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