Phylogenetic analysis of TCE-dechlorinating consortia enriched on a variety of electron donors. Academic Article uri icon


  • Two rapidly fermented electron donors, lactate and methanol, and two slowly fermented electron donors, propionate and butyrate, were selected for enrichment studies to evaluate the characteristics of anaerobic microbial consortia that reductively dechlorinate TCE to ethene. Each electron donor enrichment subculture demonstrated the ability to dechlorinate TCE to ethene through several serial transfers. Microbial community analyses based upon 16S rDNA, including terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) and clone library/sequencing, were performed to assess major changes in microbial community structure associated with electron donors capable of stimulating reductive dechlorination. Results demonstrated that five phylogenic subgroups or genera of bacteria were present in all consortia, including Dehalococcoides sp., low G+C Gram-positives (mostly Clostridium and Eubacterium sp.), Bacteroides sp., Citrobacter sp., and delta Proteobacteria (mostly Desulfovibrio sp.). Phylogenetic association indicates that only minor shifts in the microbial community structure occurred between the four alternate electron donor enrichments and the parent consortium. Inconsistent detection of Dehalococcoides spp. in clone libraries and T-RFLP of enrichment subcultures was resolved using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (Q-PCR). Q-PCR with primers specific to Dehalococcoides 16S rDNA resulted in positive detection of this species in all enrichments. Our results suggest that TCE-dechlorinating consortia can be stably maintained on a variety of electron donors and that quantities of Dehalococcoides cells detected with Dehalococcoides specific 16S rDNA primer/probe sets do not necessarily correlate well with solvent degradation rates.

published proceedings

  • Environ Sci Technol

author list (cited authors)

  • Freeborn, R. A., West, K. A., Bhupathiraju, V. K., Chauhan, S., Rahm, B. G., Richardson, R. E., & Alvarez-Cohen, L.

citation count

  • 91

complete list of authors

  • Freeborn, Ryan A||West, Kimberlee A||Bhupathiraju, Vishvesh K||Chauhan, Sadhana||Rahm, Brian G||Richardson, Ruth E||Alvarez-Cohen, Lisa

publication date

  • November 2005