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Environ Sci Technol. 2016 Nov 15;50(22):12187-12196. Epub 2016 Nov 3.

1,2-Dichloroethane Exposure Alters the Population Structure, Metabolism, and Kinetics of a Trichloroethene-Dechlorinating Dehalococcoides mccartyi Consortium.

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Civil and Environmental Engineering, ‡Chemical Engineering, and §Department of Statistics, Stanford University , Stanford, California 94305, United States.
Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry, and ⊥Cell and Systems Biology, University of Toronto , Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E5, Canada.


Bioremediation of groundwater contaminated with chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons such as perchloroethene and trichloroethene can result in the accumulation of the undesirable intermediate vinyl chloride. Such accumulation can either be due to the absence of specific vinyl chloride respiring Dehalococcoides mccartyi or to the inhibition of such strains by the metabolism of other microorganisms. The fitness of vinyl chloride respiring Dehalococcoides mccartyi subpopulations is particularly uncertain in the presence of chloroethene/chloroethane cocontaminant mixtures, which are commonly found in contaminated groundwater. Therefore, we investigated the structure of Dehalococcoides populations in a continuously fed reactor system under changing chloroethene/ethane influent conditions. We observed that increasing the influent ratio of 1,2-dichloroethane to trichloroethene was associated with ecological selection of a tceA-containing Dehalococcoides population relative to a vcrA-containing Dehalococcoides population. Although both vinyl chloride and 1,2-dichloroethane could be simultaneously transformed to ethene, prolonged exposure to 1,2-dichloroethane diminished the vinyl chloride transforming capacity of the culture. Kinetic tests revealed that dechlorination of 1,2-dichloroethane by the consortium was strongly inhibited by cis-dichloroethene but not vinyl chloride. Native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry revealed that a trichloroethene reductive dehalogenase (TceA) homologue was the most consistently expressed of four detectable reductive dehalogenases during 1,2-dichloroethane exposure, suggesting that it catalyzes the reductive dihaloelimination of 1,2-dichloroethane to ethene.

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