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Bioelectrochemical assisted dechlorination of tetrachloroethylene and 1,2-dichloroethane by acclimation of anaerobic sludge

Chen, Fan, Liang, Bin, Li, Zhi-Ling, Yang, Jia-Qi, Huang, Cong, Lyu, Miao, Yuan, Ye, Nan, Jun, Wang, Ai-Jie
Chemosphere 2019 v.227 pp. 514-521
Geobacter, Lactococcus, Pseudomonas, acclimation, biocathodes, biochemical pathways, biofilm, catalytic activity, dechlorination, electrical treatment, electron transfer, ethylene, ethylene dichloride, genes, groundwater contamination, sludge, tetrachloroethylene
Volatile chlorinated hydrocarbons (VCHs) are often found as a type of persistent and ubiquitous contaminant in groundwater. The feasibility, characteristics and microbial mechanism of acclimation of biodiversity-rich inoculation source for bioelectrochemical stimulated VCH dechlorination remain poorly understood. Here, the superior bioelectrochemical catalytic activities were observed for tetrachloroethylene (0.26 mM d−1) and 1,2-dichloroethane (2.20 mM d−1) dechlorination in anaerobic sludge-acclimated biocathodes with an optimal potential of −0.5 V, averaging 1.60–2.71 times higher than those reported in previous works on biocathodes. When the cathode was applied as the sole electron donor for dechlorination, columbic efficiencies reached the values greater than 80%. Tetrachloroethylene dechlorination showed a metabolic pathway with cis-1,2-dichloroethene as the main product, whereas 1,2-dichloroethane was dechlorinated entirely to the nontoxic ethene. The cathodic biofilms were highly abundant with the dechlorination and electro-active genera, while significant bacterial consortium variation was observed in response to the different VCH types and changes in cathodic potential. Bacillus, Pseudomonas and Lactococcus were mostly enriched for tetrachloroethylene dechlorination, and pceA, tceA and omcX were highly expressed. Geobacter was the most predominant during 1,2-dichloroethane dechlorination with rdhA, tceA and omcX highly expressed. In addition, although the impact of cathodic potentials was weaker than that of VCH types, the lower cathodic potentials, the more abundant of the electrode respiring populations and the higher expression of extracellular electron transfer related gene. This study demonstrated the great potential of acclimation of anaerobic sludge by electrical stimulation for accelerating VCH remediations and gave insights into its working molecular mechanisms.