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Environ Sci Technol. 2004 Feb 15;38(4):1024-30.

Hydrogen thresholds as indicators of dehalorespiration in constructed treatment wetlands.

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Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803, USA.


Anaerobic degradation of cis-1,2-dichloroethene (cis-1,2-DCE) and 1,2-dichloroethane (1,2-DCA) was studied in microcosms derived from a laboratory-scale upflow treatment wetland system used to biodegrade chlorinated compounds present in groundwater from a Superfund site. Dechlorination kinetics of cis-1,2-DCE (0.94-1.57 d(-1)) and 1,2-DCA (0.15-0.71 d(-1)) were rapid, and degradation proceeded to completion with ethene or ethane as terminal dechlorination products. Hydrogen concentrations, measured simultaneously during dechlorination, were significantly different for the two compounds, approximately 2.5 nM for cis-1,2-DCE and 38 nM for 1,2-DCA. Methanogenesis proceeded during the degradation of 1,2-DCA when H2 concentrations were high but not during the dechlorination of cis-1,2-DCE when H2 concentrations were below published thresholds for methanogenesis. A 16S rRNA gene-based approach indicates that microorganisms closely related to Dehalococcoides ethenogenes were present and that they were distributed throughout the bottom, middle, and top of the upflow treatment wetland system. These results coupled with consideration of hydrogen thresholds, degradation kinetics, daughter products, and measurements of methanogenesis strongly suggest that halorespirers were responsible for dechlorination of cis-1,2-DCE and that 1,2-DCA dechlorination was co-metabolic, likely mediated by acetogens or methanogens. Rapid dechlorination potential was distributed throughout the wetland bed, both within and below the rhizosphere, indicating that reductive dechlorination pathways can be active in anaerobic environments located in close spatial proximity to aerobic environments and plants in treatment wetland systems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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