Environmental toxicology and chemistry

Kinetics of polychlorinated biphenyl dechlorination and growth of dechlorinating microorganisms.

PMID 11345446


The present study has investigated a correlation between the kinetics of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) dechlorination and the growth of dechlorinating microbial populations. Microorganisms were eluted from Aroclor 1248-contaminated St. Lawrence River (NY, USA) sediments and inoculated into clean sediments spiked with Aroclor 1248 at 10 concentrations ranging from 0 to 3.12 micromol/g sediment (0-900 ppm). The time course of PCB dechlorination and population growth were concurrently determined by congener-specific analysis and the most probable number technique, respectively. The specific growth rate was a saturation function of PCB concentrations above the threshold concentration (0.14 micromol/g sediment, or 40 ppm), below which no dechlorination or growth of dechlorinations were observed. The maximum growth rate was 0.20/d with a half-saturation constant of 1.23 micromol/g sediment. The yield of dechlorinating microorganisms showed a peak at 0.70 micromol/g sediment (200 ppm), with a value of 10.3 x 10(12) cells/mol Cl removed, and decreased below and above this concentration. The dechlorination rate (micromol Cl removed/g sediment/d) was a linear function of Aroclor concentration. Both the log of this rate and the maximum level of dechlorination were significantly correlated with growth rate. The biomass-normalized dechlorination rate (micromol Cl removed/g sediment/cell/d) was first order because of the exponential manner of the population growth. The first-order rate constant was a saturation function of Aroclor concentrations, with a maximum of 0.24/d (a half-life of 2.9 d) and a half-saturation constant of 1.18 micromol/g sediment, which are similar to the constants for growth. These results indicate that the dechlorination rate is tightly linked to the population growth of dechlorinating microorganisms.