Pathways for the anaerobic microbial debromination of polybrominated diphenyl ethers. Academic Article uri icon


  • The debromination pathways of seven polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) by three different cultures of anaerobic dehalogenating bacteria were investigated using comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography (GC x GC). The congeners analyzed were the five major components of the industrially used octa-BDE mixture (octa-BDEs 196, 203, and 197, hepta-BDE 183, and hexa-BDE 153) as well as the two most commonly detected PBDEs in the environment, penta-BDE 99 and tetra-BDE 47. Among the dehalogenating cultures evaluated in this study were a trichloroethene-enriched consortium containing multiple Dehalococcoides species, and two pure cultures, Dehalobacter restrictus PER-K23 and Desulfitobacterium hafniense PCP-1. PBDE samples were analyzed by GC x GC coupled to an electron capture detector to maximize separation and identification of the product congeners. All studied congeners were debrominated to some extent by the three cultures and all exhibited similar debromination pathways with preferential removal of para and meta bromines. Debromination of the highly brominated congeners was extremely slow, with usually less than 10% of nM concentrations of PBDEs transformed after three months. In contrast, debromination of the lesser brominated congeners, such as penta 99 and tetra 47, was faster, with some cultures completely debrominating nM levels of tetra 47 within weeks.

published proceedings

  • Environ Sci Technol

altmetric score

  • 6

author list (cited authors)

  • Robrock, K. R., Korytr, P., & Alvarez-Cohen, L.

citation count

  • 166

complete list of authors

  • Robrock, Kristin R||Koryt├ír, Peter||Alvarez-Cohen, Lisa

publication date

  • April 2008