This study evaluated the effectiveness of sequential anaerobic/aerobic biodegradation of tetrachloroethene (PCE) and its intermediates, cis-1,2-dichloroethene (cDCE) and vinyl chloride (VC). Two sand columns were operated in series. The first column simulated the up-gradient side of a groundwater system, was operated under anaerobic conditions, and was continuously fed the target contaminant, PCE (42 µM). The second column simulated the down-gradient side of the groundwater system and was operated under aerobic conditions, using low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide as the dissolved oxygen source. After 15 days of operation, cDCE was detected at the end of the first, anaerobic column, at concentrations of 7.02–15.57 μM. After 36 days of operation, VC (7.32 μM) was also detected at the end of the first column. cDCE and VC then migrated into the second, aerobic column. Results showed that cDCE and VC were almost completely aerobically biodegraded in the second column, with removal efficiencies of up to 97% and 95%, respectively. This study also used batch experiments to compare cDCE removal efficiencies between aerobic metabolism using cDCE as the only substrate, and aerobic cometabolism using methane and cDCE as primary and secondary substrates. Results showed that aerobic cometabolism of cDCE was inhibited at cDCE concentrations greater than 50 mg/L. This inhibition effect was not obvious under aerobic metabolism using cDCE as the only substrate. Results of a Michaelis–Menten/Monod kinetics analysis showed that when cDCE concentrations were greater than 20 mg/L, cDCE could be biodegraded more effectively under aerobic metabolism than under aerobic cometabolism.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Adamson DT, McDade JM, Hughes JB (2003) Inoculation of a DNAPL source zone to initiate reductive dechlorination of PCE. Environ Sci Technol 37(11):2525–2533
Alvarez-Cohen L, McCarty PL (1991) A cometabolic biotransformation model for halogenated aliphatic compounds exhibiting product toxicity. Environ Sci Technol 25(8):1381–1387
Alvarez-Cohen L, Speitel GE Jr (2001) Kinetics of aerobic cometabolism of chlorinated solvents. Biodegradation 12(2):105–126
Aulenta F, Pera A, Rossetti S, Papini PM, Majone M (2007) Relevance of side reactions in anaerobic reductive dechlorination microcosms amended with different electron donors. Water Res 41(1):27–38
Baker GC, Smith JJ, Cowan DA (2003) Review and re-analysis of domain-specific 16S primers. J Microbiol Methods 55(3):541–555
Bhatt P, Kumar MS, Mudliar S, Chakrabarti T (2007) Biodegradation of chlorinated compounds—a review. Crit Rev Env Sci Technol 37(2):165–198
Bradley PM, Chapelle FH (1998) Effect of contaminant concentration on aerobic microbial mineralization of DCE and VC in stream-bed sediments. Environ Sci Technol 32(5):553–557
Bradley PM, Chapelle FH (2000) Aerobic microbial mineralization of dichloroethene as sole carbon substrate. Environ Sci Technol 34(1):221–223
Broholm K, Ludvigsen L, Jensen TF, Østergaard H (2005) Aerobic biodegradation of vinyl chloride and cis-1,2-dichloroethylene in aquifer sediments. Chemosphere 60(11):1555–1564
Brusseau GA, Tsien HC, Hanson RS, Wackett LP (1990) Optimization of trichloroethylene oxidation by methanotrophs and the use of a colorimetric assay to detect soluble methane monooxygenase activity. Biodegradation 1(1):19–29
Chang HL, Alvarez-Cohen L (1995) Model for the cometabolic biodegradation of chlorinated organics. Environ Sci Technol 29(9):2357–2367
Chang CH, Yang HY, Hung JM, Lu CJ, Liu MH (2017) Simulation of combined anaerobic/aerobic bioremediation of tetrachloroethylene in groundwater by a column system. Int Biodeterior Biodegrad 117:150–157
Chang CH, Yang HY, Chen SK, Hung JM, Lu CJ, Liu MH (2018) Electrokinetic-enhanced bioremediation of tetrachloroethylene. Int Biodeterior Biodegrad 132:251–258
Coleman NV, Mattes TE, Gossett JM, Spain JC (2002) Biodegradation of cis-dichloroethene as the sole carbon source by a β-proteobacterium. Appl Environ Microbiol 68(6):2726–2730
Dolinová I, Štrojsová M, Černík M, Němeček J, Macháčková J, Ševců A (2017) Microbial degradation of chloroethenes: a review. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 24(15):13262–13283
Ferris MJ, Muyzer G, Ward DM (1996) Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis profiles of 16S rRNA-defined populations inhabiting a hot spring microbial mat community. Appl Environ Microbiol 62(2):340–346
Fetzner S (1998) Bacterial dehalogenation. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 50(6):633–657
Findlay M, Smoler DF, Fogel S, Mattes TE (2016) Aerobic vinyl chloride metabolism in groundwater microcosms by methanotrophic and etheneotrophic bacteria. Environ Sci Technol 50(7):3617–3625
Fogel MM, Taddeo AR, Fogel S (1986) Biodegradation of chlorinated ethenes by a methane-utilizing mixed culture. Appl Environ Microbiol 51(4):720–724
Frascari D, Fraraccio S, Nocentini M, Pinelli D (2013) Aerobic/anaerobic/aerobic sequenced biodegradation of a mixture of chlorinated ethenes, ethanes and methanes in batch bioreactors. Bioresour Technol 128:479–486
Frascari D, Zanaroli G, Danko AS (2015) In situ aerobic cometabolism of chlorinated solvents: a review. J Hazard Mater 283:382–399
Gaza S, Schmidt KR, Weigold P, Heidinger M, Tiehm A (2019) Aerobic metabolic trichloroethene biodegradation under field-relevant conditions. Water Res 151:343–348
Haston ZC, McCarty PL (1999) Chlorinated ethene half-velocity coefficients (KS) for reductive dehalogenation. Environ Sci Technol 33(2):223–226
He JZ, Ritalahti KM, Aiello MR, Löffler FE (2003) Complete detoxification of vinyl chloride by an anaerobic enrichment culture and identification of the reductively dechlorinating population as a dehalococcoides species. Appl Environ Microbiol 69(2):996–1003
Heimann AC, Friis AK, Scheutz C, Jakobsen R (2007) Dynamics of reductive TCE dechlorination in two distinct H2 supply scenarios and at various temperatures. Biodegradation 18(2):167–179
Jesus J, Frascari D, Pozdniakova T, Danko AS (2016) Kinetics of aerobic cometabolic biodegradation of chlorinated and brominated aliphatic hydrocarbons: a review. J Hazard Mater 309:37–52
Kao CM (2014) Recovery of chlorinated solvent trichloroethylene contaminated groundwater using a hybrid treatment system. Int J Environ Sci Technol 11(1):149–158
Kotik M, Davidová A, Voříšková J, Baldrian P (2013) Bacterial communities in tetrachloroethene-polluted groundwaters: a case study. Sci Total Environ 454–455:517–527
Kumar V, Shahi SK, Singh S (2018) Bioremediation: An eco-sustainable approach for restoration of contaminated sites. In: Singh J, Sharma D, Kumar G, Sharma NR (eds) Microbial bioprospecting for sustainable development. Springer, Berlin, pp 115–136
Lee TH, Yoshimi M, Ike M, Fujita M (1999) Sequential anaerobic-aerobic degradation of tetrachloroethylene in a soil enrichment culture. Jpn J Water Treat Biol 35(1):49–58
Maillard J, Charnay MP, Regeard C, Rohrbach-Brandt E, Rouzeau-Szynalski K, Rossi P, Holliger C (2011) Reductive dechlorination of tetrachloroethene by a stepwise catalysis of different organohalide respiring bacteria and reductive dehalogenases. Biodegradation 22(5):949–960
Major DW, McMaster ML, Cox EE, Edwards EA, Dworatzek SM, Hendrickson ER, Starr MG, Payne JA, Buonamici LW (2002) Field demonstration of successful bioaugmentation to achieve dechlorination of tetrachloroethene to ethene. Environ Sci Technol 36(23):5106–5116
Mattes TE, Alexander AK, Coleman NV (2010) Aerobic biodegradation of the chloroethenes: pathways, enzymes, ecology, and evolution. FEMS Microbiol Rev 34(4):445–475
Mendoza-Sanchez I, Autenrieth RL, McDonald TJ, Cunningham JA (2010) Effect of pore velocity on biodegradation of cis-dichloroethene (DCE) in column experiments. Biodegradation 21(3):365–377
Murray AM, Ottosen CB, Maillard J, Holliger C, Johansen A, Brabæk L, Kristensen IL, Zimmermann J, Hunkeler D, Broholm MM (2019) Chlorinated ethene plume evolution after source thermal remediation: determination of degradation rates and mechanisms. J Contam Hydrol 227:103551
Murrell JC, McDonald IR, Bourne DG (1998) Molecular methods for the study of methanotroph ecology. FEMS Microbiol Ecol 27(2):103–114
Pandey VC, Singh JS, Singh DP, Singh RP (2014) Methanotrophs: promising bacteria for environmental remediation. Int J Environ Sci Technol 11(1):241–250
Parsons F, Wood PR, DeMarco J (1984) Transformations of tetrachloroethene and trichloroethene in microcosms and groundwater. J Am Water Works Assoc 76(2):56–59
Patil SS, Adetutu EM, Sheppard PJ, Morrison P, Menz IR, Ball AS (2014) Site-specific pre-evaluation of bioremediation technologies for chloroethene degradation. Int J Environ Sci Technol 11(7):1869–1880
Schmidt KR, Tiehm A (2008) Natural attenuation of chloroethenes: identification of sequential reductive/oxidative biodegradation by microcosm studies. Water Sci Technol 58(5):1137–1145
Schmidt KR, Augenstein T, Heidinger M, Ertl S, Tiehm A (2010) Aerobic biodegradation of cis-1,2-dichloroethene as sole carbon source: stable carbon isotope fractionation and growth characteristics. Chemosphere 78(5):527–532
Schmidt KR, Gaza S, Voropaev A, Ertl S, Tiehm A (2014) Aerobic biodegradation of trichloroethene without auxiliary substrates. Water Res 59:112–118
Shang H, Yang Q, Zhang Y (2011) Kinetic models of dichloroethylene biodegradation by two strains of aerobic bacteria. Biomed Environ Sci 24(3):261–267
Sing H, Löffler F, Fathepure B (2004) Aerobic biodegradation of vinyl chloride by a highly enriched mixed culture. Biodegradation 15(3):197–204
Srivastava J, Naraian R, Kalra SJS, Chandra H (2014) Advances in microbial bioremediation and the factors influencing the process. Int J Environ Sci Technol 11(6):1787–1800
Tiehm A, Schmidt KR (2011) Sequential anaerobic/aerobic biodegradation of chloroethenes—aspects of field application. Curr Opin Biotechnol 22(3):415–421
Verce MF, Gunsch CK, Danko AS, Freedman DL (2002) Cometabolism of cis-1,2-dichloroethene by aerobic cultures grown on vinyl chloride as the primary substrate. Environ Sci Technol 36(10):2171–2177
Vogel TM, Criddle CS, McCarty PL (1987) ES critical reviews: transformations of halogenated aliphatic compounds. Environ Sci Technol 21(8):722–736
Wang CC, Li CH, Yang CF (2019) Acclimated methanotrophic consortia for aerobic co-metabolism of trichloroethene with methane. Int Biodeterior Biodegrad 142:52–57
Wei N, Finneran KT (2013) Low and high acetate amendments are equally as effective at promoting complete dechlorination of trichloroethylene (TCE). Biodegradation 24(3):413–425
Yoshikawa M, Zhang M, Toyota K (2017) Integrated anaerobic–aerobic biodegradation of multiple contaminants including chlorinated ethylenes, benzene, toluene, and dichloromethane. Water Air Soil Pollut 228:25
This research was supported by the National Chung Hsing University. The views or opinions expressed in this article are those of the writers and should not be construed as the opinions of the National Chung Hsing University.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
The corresponding author testify on behalf of all co-authors that our article submitted to the International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology: (1) This material has not been published in whole or in part elsewhere; (2) The manuscript is not currently being considered for publication in another journal; (3) All authors have been personally and actively involved in substantive work leading to the manuscript, and will hold themselves jointly and individually responsible for its content.
Responsibility editor: M. Abbaspour.
About this article
Cite this article
Chen, S., Yang, H., Huang, S. et al. Complete degradation of chlorinated ethenes and its intermediates through sequential anaerobic/aerobic biodegradation in simulated groundwater columns (complete degradation of chlorinated ethenes). Int. J. Environ. Sci. Technol. (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13762-020-02792-z
- Chlorinated ethenes
- Anaerobic/aerobic biodegradation
- Aerobic cometabolism
- Aerobic metabolism