Send to

Choose Destination
Environ Pollut. 2000 Feb;107(2):199-207.

Anaerobic decomposition of halogenated aromatic compounds.

Author information

Biotechnology Center for Agriculture and the Environment, and Department of Biochemistry Microbiology, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 59 Dudley Road, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8520, USA.


Halogenated compounds constitute one of the largest groups of environmental pollutants, partly as a result of their widespread use as biocides, solvents and other industrial chemicals. A critical step in degradation of organohalides is the cleavage of the carbon?halogen bond. Reductive dehalogenation is generally the initial step in metabolism under methanogenic conditions, which requires a source of reducing equivalents, with the halogenated compound serving as an electron acceptor. Dehalogenation is greatly influenced by alternate electron acceptors; e.g. sulfate frequently inhibits reductive dehalogenation. On the other hand, a number of halogenated aromatic compounds can be degraded under different electron-accepting conditions and their complete oxidation to CO(2) can be coupled to processes such as denitrification, iron(III)-reduction, sulfate reduction and methanogenesis. Reductive dehalogenation was the initial step in degradation not only under methanogenic, but also under sulfate- and iron(III)-reducing conditions. Dehalogenation rates were in general slower under sulfidogenic and iron-reducing conditions, suggesting that dehalogenation was affected by the electron acceptor. The capacity for dehalogenation appears to be widely distributed in anoxic environments; however, the different substrate specificities and activities observed for the halogenated aromatic compounds suggest that distinct dehalogenating microbial populations are enriched under the different reducing conditions. Characterization of the microbial community structure using a combination of biomolecular techniques, such as cellular fatty acid profiling, and 16 S rRNA fingerprinting/sequence analysis, was used to discern the distinct populations enriched with each substrate and under each electron-accepting condition. These combined techniques will aid in identifying the organisms responsible for dehalogenation and degradation of halogenated aromatic compounds.


Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center