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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 18 No. 4, p. 515-518
     
    Received: June 27, 1988


    * Corresponding author(s):
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doi:10.2134/jeq1989.00472425001800040022x

The Degradation of Trichloroethylene in Mixed Methanogenic Cultures

  1. Nam H. Baek and
  2. Peter R. Jaffe *
  1. Dep. of Civil Engineering and Operations Res. Princeton Univ., Princeton, NJ 08544.

Abstract

Abstract

Symbiosis between nonmethanogenic fermenters and methanogens, which occurs through a phenomenon called the interspecies hydrogen transfer, can play an important role in the growth of these microorganisms. In the degradation of natural materials, methane production is frequently supported by this interspecies hydrogen transfer from fermenters that degrade the primary substrate, to methanogens that use the hydrogen to reduce carbonate to methane. The objective of this work was to evaluate the role of the fermenters in the degradation of trichloroethylene during methanogenesis. The results show that the fermentation process enhances the anaerobic degradation of trichloroethylene. In addition, it is shown that chloroethane appears as one of the products of the degradation of trichloroethylene by this mixed culture. The production of chloroethane indicates that hydrogenation of the double bond of a chlorinated ethene occurs during the degradation of trichloroethylene by cultures containing nonmethanogenic fermenters and methanogens. The metabolism involved in this degradation process may therefore provide a possible mechanism to completely degrade trichloroethylene under anaerobic conditions, because it is known that chloroethane is degraded rapidly to inorganic carbon.

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