Reviews in Environmental Science and Bio/Technology

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 185–254

Biodegradability of chlorinated solvents and related chlorinated aliphatic compounds

Article

Abstract

The biodegradability of chlorinated methanes, chlorinated ethanes, chlorinated ethenes, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), chlorinated acetic acids, chlorinated propanoids and chlorinated butadienes was evaluated based on literature data. Evidence for the biodegradation of compounds in all of the compound categories evaluated has been reported. A broad range of chlorinated aliphatic structures are susceptible to biodegradation under a variety of physiological and redox conditions. Microbial biodegradation of a wide variety of chlorinated aliphatic compounds was shown to occur under five physiological conditions. However, any given physiological condition could only act upon a subset of the chlorinated compounds. Firstly, chlorinated compounds are used as an electron donor and carbon source under aerobic conditions. Secondly, chlorinated compounds are cometabolized under aerobic conditions while the microorganisms are growing (or otherwise already have grown) on another primary substrate. Thirdly, chlorinated compounds are also degraded under anaerobic conditions in which they are utilized as an electron donor and carbon source. Fourthly, chlorinated compounds can serve as an electron acceptor to support respiration of anaerobic microorganisms utilizing simple electron donating substrates. Lastly chlorinated compounds are subject to anaerobic cometabolism becoming biotransformed while the microorganisms grow on other primary substrate or electron acceptor. The literature survey demonstrates that, in many cases, chlorinated compounds are completely mineralised to benign end products. Additionally, biodegradation can occur rapidly. Growth rates exceeding 1 d-1 were observed for many compounds. Most compound categories include chlorinated structures that are used to support microbial growth. Growth can be due to the use of the chlorinated compound as an electron donor or alternatively to the use of the chlorinated compound as an electron acceptor (halorespiration). Biodegradation linked to growth is important, since under such conditions, rates of degradation will increase as the microbial population (biocatalyst) increases. Combinations of redox conditions are favorable for the biodegradation of highly chlorinated structures that are recalcitrant to degradation under aerobic conditions. However, under anaerobic conditions, highly chlorinated structures are partially dehalogenated to lower chlorinated counterparts. The lower chlorinated compounds are subsequently more readily mineralized under aerobic conditions.

Keywords

biodegradation chloroacetic acids chlorobutadienes chloroethanes chloroethenes CFC chlorofluorocarbons chlorinated aliphatic compounds chloromethanes chloropropanes chloropropenes epichlorohydrin halorespiration microbial dechlorination PCE TCE 

Abbreviations

A

ethane

BTEX

benzene–toluene–ethyl benzene–xylene

CA

chloroethane

CAA

chloroacetic acid

2-CBD

2-chloro-1,3-butadiene

cDCE

cis-dichloroethene

CF

chloroform

CFC

chlorofluorocarbons (seeTable 15 for CFC-nomenculture )

Cl

inorganic chloride

CM

chloromethane

CO

carbon monoxide

CoM

cometabolism

CPrpA

chloropropane

CPrpE

chloropropene

CSTR

completely stirred tank reactor

CT

carbon tetrachloride

c/tDCE

unspecified mixture of cis- and trans-dichloroethene

DCA

dichloroethane

DCAA

dichloroacetic acid

1,1-DCE

1,1-dichloroethene

DCM

dichloromethane

DCPrpA

dichloropropane

DCPrpE

dichloropropene

DNAPL

dense non-aqueous phase liquid

Dwt

dry weight

E

ethene

EA

electron acceptor

ED

electron donor

EPC

epichlorohydrin or 3-chloro-1,2-epoxypropane

HCA

hexachloroethane

HCBD

hexachlorochloro-1,3-butadiene

HCFC

hydrochlorofluorocarbons

HeCPrpA

hexachloropropane

HS-G

glutathione

MMO

methane monooxygenases

PCA

pentachloroethane

PCBD

pentachlorobutadiene

PCE

perchloroethylene

pMMO

membrane-bound methane monooxygenases

PRB

permeable reactive barrier

sMMO

soluble methane monooxygenases

Tc

transformation capacity

TCA

trichloroethane

TCAA

trichloroacetic acid

TCBD

trichlorobutadiene

TCE

trichloroethylene

TCPrpA

trichloropropane

TeCA

tetrachloroethane

tDCE

trans-dichloroethene

TeCBD

tetrachlorobutadiene

TFAA

trifluoroacetic acid

ToMO

toluene/ortho-xylene monoxygenase

UASB

upflow anaerobic sludge bed reactor

VC

vinyl chloride

VSS

volatile suspended solids.

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Copyright information

© Springer 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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