The Microbial Logic and Environmental Significance of Reductive Dehalogenation

  • Jan Dolfing
  • Jacobus E. M. Beurskens
Part of the Advances in Microbial Ecology book series (AMIE, volume 14)


In the last 25 years, Western society has decisively changed its attitude toward halogenated compounds. Until the end of the 1960s, “chemicals” were applied indiscriminately in a wide variety of agricultural and industrial processes. Many of these chemicals were chlorinated compounds. They were used because they had many useful characteristics. One of these characteristics was that they were very stable and rather resistant to chemical and biological degradation. With hindsight it is thus not surprising that these halogenated compounds proved to be quite persistent in the environment. Many of these generally hydrophobic compounds have the tendency to accumulate in biota to such levels that they caused considerable damage or even death. The eloquent outcry of Rachel Carson (1962) and others in the 1960s resulted in a drastic reappraisal of the wisdom of using halogenated organic compounds indiscriminately.


Reductive Dechlorination Anoxic Environment Reductive Dehalogenation Dechlorination Rate Chlorine Substituent 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Dolfing
    • 1
  • Jacobus E. M. Beurskens
    • 2
  1. 1.DLO-Research Institute for Agrobiology and Soil Fertility (AB-DLO)HarenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.National Institute of Public Health and Environmental Protection (RIVM)BilthovenThe Netherlands

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