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Transformation of carbon tetrachloride in an anaerobic packed-bed reactor without addition of another electron donor

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Author: Best, J.H. de · Hunneman, P. · Doddema, H.J. · Janssen, D.B. · Harder, W.
Publisher: Kluwer Academic Publishers
Place: Dordrecht, Netherlands
Institution: TNO Milieu, Energie en Procesinnovatie
Source:Biodegradation, 4, 10, 287-295
Identifier: 235290
doi: doi:10.1023/A:1008309003059
Keywords: Environment · Anaerobic · Carbon tetrachloride · Electron donor · Metabolic transformation · Transformation products · Bacteria · Carbon monoxide · Carbon tetrachloride · Oxidation · Packed beds · Anaerobic packed-bed reactors · Biodegradation · Anti-Bacterial Agents · Bacteria, Anaerobic · Biodegradation, Environmental · Bioreactors · Carbon Tetrachloride · Electrons · Bacteria (microorganisms) · Posibacteria


Carbon tetrachloride (52 μM) was biodegraded for more than 72% in an anaerobic packed-bed reactor without addition of an external electron donor. The chloride mass balance demonstrated that all carbon tetrachloride transformed was completely dechlorinated. Chloroform and dichloromethane were sometimes also found as transformation products, but neither accumulated to significant levels in comparison to the amount of carbon tetrachloride transformed. Transformation of carbon tetrachloride in the absence of an added electron donor suggests that carbon tetrachloride itself is the source of energy for the biological reaction observed, and possibly the source of carbon for cell growth. No such mechanism is yet known. The pathway of carbon tetrachloride transformation is not clear; it may be dehalogenated by hydrolytic reduction to carbon monoxide or formic acid which are electron demanding transformations. Carbon monoxide or formic acid may be further utilized and serve as electron donor. Complete dechlorination of carbon tetrachloride according to this pathway is independent of a second electron donor or electron acceptor, as with a fermentation process. Vancomycin, an inhibitor of gram positive eubacteria, severely inhibited carbon tetrachloride transformation in batch incubations with an enrichment culture from the reactor, indicating that gram positive eubacteria were involved in carbon tetrachloride transformation. Batch experiments with bromoethanesulfonic acid, used to inhibit methanogens, and molybdate, an inhibitor of sulfate reduction in sulfate reducing bacteria, demonstrated that neither methanogens nor sulfate reducers were involved in the complete dechlorination of carbon tetrachloride.