Sediments of the Kymijoki River are highly contaminated with polychlorinated dibenzo-. p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs). These persistent PCDD/Fs resist biotic degradation and therefore the potential for microbial reductive dechlorination was assessed to determine how microbes impact the fate of these compounds. Anaerobic sediment microcosms of five different sites in the river were spiked with 1,2,3,4-tetrachlorodibenzofuran (1,2,3,4-TeCDF) as a model compound to determine the dechlorination potential in the sediments. Dechlorinating bacteria were active in all the study sites of the river. The extent of dechlorination over 10 and 29. months corresponded to the levels of aged PCDD/Fs, with sediments of the most contaminated site at Kuusankoski being the most active for reductive dechlorination. The dechlorination activity and levels of aged PCDD/Fs were correlated within the sediment cores at the all sites. The pathway of 1,2,3,4-TeCDF dechlorination was mainly via 1,3,4-trichlorodibenzofuran (TrCDF) to 1,3-dichlorodibenzofuran (DiCDF). Dechlorination via 1,2,4-TrCDF to further dechlorination products was also detected. Lateral reductive dechlorination would decrease the toxicity of 2,3,7,8-substituted PCDD/Fs. Our data suggest that sediments of the Kymijoki River contain indigenous microorganisms that are responsible for dechlorination of PCDD/Fs, especially at the most contaminated site.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Engineering
- Environmental Chemistry
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
- Reductive dechlorination