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Environ Geochem Health. 2013 Aug;35(4):535-49. doi: 10.1007/s10653-013-9513-3. Epub 2013 Feb 19.

Microbiota associated with the migration and transformation of chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons in groundwater.

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  • 1Beijing Key Laboratory of Water Resources and Environmental Engineering, School of Water Resources and Environment, China University of Geosciences, No.29 Xueyuan Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100083, People's Republic of China.


Pollution of groundwater with chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons (CAHs) is a serious environmental problem which is threatening human health. Microorganisms are the major participants in degrading these contaminants. Here, groundwater contaminated for a decade with CAHs was investigated. Numerical simulation and field measurements were used to track and forecast the migration and transformation of the pollutants. The diversity, abundance, and possible activity of groundwater microbial communities at CAH-polluted sites were characterized by molecular approaches. The number of microorganisms was between 5.65E+05 and 1.49E+08 16S rRNA gene clone numbers per liter according to quantitative real-time PCR analysis. In 16S rRNA gene clone libraries constructed from samples along the groundwater flow, eight phyla were detected, and Proteobacteria were dominant (72.8 %). The microbial communities varied with the composition and concentration of pollutants. Meanwhile, toluene monooxygenases and methane monooxygenases capable of degradation of PCE and TCE were detected, demonstrating the major mechanism for PCE and TCE degradation and possibility for in situ remediation by addition of oxygen in this study.

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