Microbially mediated reductive dechlorination of weathered polychlorinated dibenzofurans in Kymijoki sediment mesocosms

Hui Liu, Joong Wook Park, Donna E. Fennell, Lisa A. Rodenburg, Matti Verta, Max M. Häggblom

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11 Scopus citations


Little is known about the potential for indigenous microorganisms to reductively dechlorinate weathered polychlorinated dibenzo- p-dioxins (PCDDs) and dibenzofurans (PCDFs) in contaminated sediments. The sediments of River Kymijoki, Finland are heavily contaminated with PCDFs originating from manufacture of the chlorophenol-based fungicide Ky-5. Reductive dechlorination of weathered PCDFs was monitored to examine strategies for stimulating such activities. Amendments with electron donors, a halogenated co-substrate (tetrachlorobenzene, TeCBz), and bioaugmentation with a mixed culture containing Dehalococcoides mccartyi strain 195 were used to stimulate dechlorination activity in 30. L River Kymijoki sediment mesocosms incubated from 18 °C to 21 °C. An initial onset of dechlorination of octa-, hepta- and hexa-CDFs was observed in all mesocosms in the first 2. years of incubation. During this initial 2-year period, the decrease in the mol% contribution of these PCDFs was coupled with an increase in the mol% contribution of tetra- and penta-CDFs. The ratio of 1,2,3,4,6,7,8- to 1,2,3,4,6,8,9-hepta-CDF increased significantly. Subtle differences were observed between amended and unamended mesocosms. For penta-CDFs, a decreasing mol% ratio of peri vs. total chlorines and increasing mol% ratio of lateral vs. total chlorines was observed in mesocosms amended with TeCBz, suggesting that the amendments may affect pathways of dechlorination. Analysis of congener patterns using principal components analysis supported the observation that dechlorination was most pronounced during the first 2. years. Polymerase chain reaction and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) analysis of 16S rRNA genes revealed a diverse Chloroflexi community. This study showed evidence for dechlorination of weathered PCDFs in Kymijoki sediment mesocosms mediated by indigenous microorganisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)212-221
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry


  • Dehalococcoides
  • Kymijoki sediments
  • Reductive dechlorination
  • Weathered PCDFs


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