Characterization of microbial community structure and population dynamics of tetrachloroethene-dechlorinating tidal mudflat communities.

PMID 21053056


Tetrachloroethene (PCE) and trichloroethene (TCE) are common groundwater contaminants that also impact tidal flats, especially near urban and industrial areas. However, very little is known about dechlorinating microbial communities in tidal flats. Titanium pyrosequencing, 16S rRNA gene clone libraries, and dechlorinator-targeted quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) characterized reductive dechlorinating activities and populations in tidal flat sediments collected from South Korea's central west coast near Kangwha. In microcosms established with surface sediments, PCE dechlorination to TCE began within 10 days and 100% of the initial amount of PCE was converted to TCE after 37 days. cis-1,2-Dichloroethene (cis-DCE) was observed as dechlorination end product in microcosms containing sediments collected from deeper zones (i.e., 35-40 cm below ground surface). Pyrosequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA genes and 16S rRNA gene-targeted qPCR results revealed Desulfuromonas michiganensis-like populations predominanted in both TCE and cis-DCE producing microcosms. Other abundant groups included Desulfuromonas thiophila and Pelobacter acidigallici-like populations in the surface sediment microcosms, and Desulfovibrio dechloracetivorans and Fusibacter paucivorans-like populations in the deeper sediment microcosms. Dehalococcoides spp. populations were not detected in these sediments before and after incubation with PCE. The results suggest that tidal flats harbor novel, salt-tolerant dechlorinating populations and that titanium pyrosequencing provides more detailed insight into community structure dynamics of the dechlorinating microcosms than conventional 16S rRNA gene sequencing or fingerprinting methods.