FEMS microbiology letters

Production of hydrogen by Clostridium species in the presence of chlorinated solvents.

PMID 19054075


Although anaerobic bioremediation of chlorinated organic contaminants in the environment often requires exogenous supply of hydrogen as an electron donor, little is known about the ability of hydrogen-producing bacteria to grow in the presence of chlorinated solvents. In this study, 18 Clostridium strains including nine uncharacterized isolates originating from chlorinated solvent contaminated groundwater were tested to determine their ability to fermentatively produce hydrogen in the presence of three common chlorinated aliphatic groundwater contaminants: 1,2-dichloroethane (DCA), 1,1,2-trichloroethane (TCA), and tetrachloroethene (PCE). All strains produced hydrogen in the presence of at least 7.4 mM DCA, 2.4 mM TCA, and 0.31 mM PCE. Some strains produced hydrogen in media containing concentrations as high as 29.7 mM DCA, 9.8 mM TCA, and 1.1 mM PCE. None of the strains biotransformed chlorinated solvents under the conditions tested. Results demonstrate that many Clostridium species are chlorinated solvent tolerant, producing hydrogen even in the presence of high concentrations of DCA, TCA, and PCE. These findings have important implications for bioremediation of contaminated soil and groundwater.