A Kinetic Study of Aerobic Propane Uptake and Cometabolic Degradation of Chloroform, cis-Dichloroethylene and Trichloroetylene in Microcosms with Groundwater/Aquifer Solids
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The focus of this study was to compare the behavior of different consortiums of aerobic propane-utilizing microorganisms, with respect to both the lag time for growth after exposure to propane, and their ability to transform three chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons (CAHs): chloroform (CF), cis-dichloroethylene (c-DCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE). Thirty-three slurry microcosms, representing seven combinations of aquifer solids and groundwater were constructed for this study. The lag time required for establishing propane-utilizing consortiums ranged between 24 and 29 days in 6 of the 7 combinations. Kinetic tests were performed with respect to propane utilization and CAH transformation. After CAH exposure, the ability of the microorganisms to metabolize propane was significantly reduced. CF and TCE were transformed more slowly than c-DCE, the average values of the initial transformation rates being equal to 0.10 ± 0.04, 0.09 ± 0.05 and 0.98 ± 0.18 μmol/(L h),respectively. CF caused the greatest reduction in propane uptake rates, whereas c-DCE exhibited an apparently reversible negative effect on propane uptake rates. The estimates of the Monod half-saturation constants relative to CF, TCE and c-DCE resulted in the 2–3 μmol/L range, but were characterized by a high degree of uncertainty.
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