Widespread Distribution of Dehalococcoides mccartyi in the Houston Ship Channel and Galveston Bay, Texas, Sediments and the Potential for Reductive Dechlorination of PCDD/F in an Estuarine Environment. Academic Article uri icon


  • Sediments in the Houston Ship Channel and upper Galveston Bay, Texas, USA, are polluted with polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins/furans (PCDD/F; 46,000ng/kg dry weight (wt.)) with 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), the most toxic congener, contributing >50% of the total toxic equivalents (TEQ) at most locations. We measured PCDD/F concentrations in sediments and evaluated the potential for enhanced in situ biodegradation by surveying for Dehalococcoides mccartyi, an obligate organohalide respiring bacterium. Dehalococcoides spp. (98% similar to D. mccartyi) and 22 other members of the class Dehalococcoidia were predominant 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) phylotypes. Dehalococcoides spp. were also present in the active fraction of the bacterial community. Presence/absence PCR screening detected D. mccartyi in sediment cores and sediment grab samples having at least 1ng/kg dry wt. TEQ at salinities ranging from 0.6 to 19.5 PSU, indicating that they are widespread in the estuarine environment. Organic carbon-only and organic carbon+sulfate-amended sediment microcosm experiments resulted in 60% reduction of ambient 2,3,7,8-TCDD in just 24months leading to reductions in total TEQs by 38.4 and 45.0%, respectively, indicating that 2,3,7,8-TCDD degradation is occurring at appreciable rates.

published proceedings

  • Mar Biotechnol (NY)

altmetric score

  • 1.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Hieke, A., Brinkmeyer, R., Yeager, K. M., Schindler, K., Zhang, S., Xu, C., Louchouarn, P., & Santschi, P. H.

citation count

  • 17

complete list of authors

  • Hieke, Anne-Sophie Charlotte||Brinkmeyer, Robin||Yeager, Kevin M||Schindler, Kimberly||Zhang, Saijin||Xu, Chen||Louchouarn, Patrick||Santschi, Peter H

publication date

  • December 2016