This study demonstrated the utility in correlating performance and community structure of a trichloroethene (TCE)-dechlorinating microbial consortium; specifically dechlorinators, fermenters, homoacetogens, and methanogens. Two complementary approaches were applied: predicting trends in the microbial community structure based on an electron balance analysis and experimentally assessing the community structure via pyrosequencing and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Fill-and-draw reactors inoculated with the DehaloR{caret insertion point}2 consortium were operated at five TCE-pulsing rates between 14 and 168μmol/10-day-SRT, amended with TCE every 2 days to give peak concentrations between 0.047 and 0.56mM (6-74ppm) and supplied lactate and methanol as sources of e- donor and carbon. The complementary approaches demonstrated the same trends: increasing abundance of Dehalococcoides and Geobacter and decreasing abundance of Firmicutes with increasing TCE pulsing rate, except for the highest pulsing rate. Based on qPCR, the abundance of Geobacter and Dehalococcoides decreased for the highest TCE pulsing rate, and pyrosequencing showed this same trend for the latter. This deviation suggested decoupling of Dehalococcoides growth from dechlorination. At pseudo steady-state, methanogenesis was minimal for all TCE pulsing rates. Pyrosequencing and qPCR showed suppression of the homoacetogenic genera Acetobacterium at the two highest pulsing rates, and it was corroborated by a decreased production of acetate from lactate fermentation and increased propionate production. Suppression of Acetobacterium, which can provide growth factors to Dehalococcoides, may have contributed to the decoupling for the highest TCE-pulsing rate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2230-2239
Number of pages10
JournalBiotechnology and bioengineering
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Chlorinated ethene inhibition
  • Dehalococcoides
  • Fermenters
  • Homoacetogens
  • Methanogens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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