Two batch experiments with acetate as the primary substrate and different combinations of chlorinated hydrocarbons as the secondary substrate were carried out to evaluate the effect of the redox potential of the environment on the biotransformations of chlorinated hydrocarbons. In both single and mixed contaminant(s) systems, biotransformations of 100 µg/L of tetrachloroethylene (PCE) and carbon tetrachloride (CT) were observed, but that of 1,1,1-trichloroethane(1,1,1-TCA) was not observed within 108 days. Chlorinated hydrocarbons acted as electron traps and scavenged the electrons when they underwent reductive dechlorination. Adequate activity of free available electrons is necessary for chlorinated hydrocarbons to undergo reductive dechlorination. The environment with low redox potential has relatively strong electron activity and therefore facilitates the biotransformation of the chlorinated hydrocarbons more readily. Disappearance of 17 to 62 % and 22 to 99.9 % of the original concentration of PCE and CT were observed when the redox potentials of the microcosms were ranged from 225 to -263 mV and 188 to -263 mV, respectively. The viable count of microorganisms determined by the epifluorescence technique showed that higher concentration of primary substrate produced more biomass than lower concentration of primary substrate did, but the DNA content of the microbes was not a good biochemical indicator for the biotransformability of the chlorinated hydrocarbons. It is concluded that oxidation-reduction potential is the major factor controlling the biotransformation efficiencies of chlorinated hydrocarbons. In the case of in-situ biorestoration, proper control of redox potential of the environment will give a good result of remediation of the groundwater contaminated with chlorinated hydrocarbons.

You do not currently have access to this content.