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Bioremediation of chlorinated organic compounds

Contamination of the environment by solvents is an important aspect resulting from improper handling and disposing of chloroethenes such as tetrachloroethene (PCE) or trichloroethene (TCE) (Barton et al. 2007). Specific strains of SRB can use chloroethene as electron acceptor in sulphate limited environment (Table 1).

The EU produced by the Desulfovibrio sp. from fermentation of lactate under the sulphate limiting condition was used by delialogenating bacteria (Drzyzga et al. 2001). The reductive release of chloride from TCE is shown in Figure 1.

Mixed culture of SRB showed greater delialogenation than pure culture of D.frctppieri (Drzyzga et al. 2001). Pure culture of D.frctppieri metabolizes PCE, which results in the accumulation of cis-dicliloroetliane. However, delialogenation of PCE by mixed culture results in the production of 55% etheue and 45% ethane (Drzyzga et al. 2002).

Table 1. SRB that metabolize chlorinated organic compounds.




Tetracliloroethene and/or polychloroethenes

Desulfitobacterium frappieri TCE1 Desulfitobacterium sp. PCE-1

Genitseetal. 1999 Gemtse et al. 1996

Desulfitobacteriimi frappieri PCP1

Dennie et al. 1998

Desulfitobacterium frappieri TCE1 Desulfitobacterium sp. Vietl

Drzyzga et al. 2001 Loeffleretal. 1999

Desulfitobacterium sp. Y51 Desulfitobacterium hafiiiense Y51

Suyama et al. 2001 Nonaka et al. 2006

Desulfitobacterium sp. KBC1

Tsukagoshi et al. 2006

Microbial reductive delialogenation (A) trichloroethane (B) ethane, [2H] indicate proton from the cell

Figure 1. Microbial reductive delialogenation (A) trichloroethane (B) ethane, [2H] indicate proton from the cell.

Future applications: energy recovery as a dual advantage

Yun et al. (2019) conducted a study to recover energy during waste water treatment using SRB by designing a SRB-based wastewater treatment system integrated with sulphide fuel cell (SFC). The ratio of COD and sulphate was a critical parameter in this process. They could achieve sulphate reduction coupled with electricity production, which is highlighted as a green and effective method of wastewater treatment.


Concern regarding the fate of sulphate and heavy metals in various types of industrial wastewater and sewage water has been growing. Biological method is the most common method used for the treatment of xenobiotics in the effluents released from industrial sites. Biological treatments are more cost effective than physical and chemical treatments, and help to maintain the ecological balance and reestablishment of polluted environments. SRB are one of the most common groups of microorganisms used for the biological anaerobic treatment of sulphate and heavy metal containing wastewater. Clearly, the synergism among SRB and other anaerobes is important in the bioremediation process, and future investigations are expected to enhance these ecological frameworks.


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