The comparison of TCE cometabolic removal by methane, toluene, and phenol utilizers was conducted with a series of batch reactors. Methane, toluene, or phenol enriched microorganisms were used as cell source. The initial cell concentration was about 107 cfu/mL. Methane, toluene, and phenol could be readily biodegraded resulting in the cometabolic removal of TCE. Among the three primary carbon sources studied, the presence of phenol provided the best cometabolic removal of TCE. When the concentration of carbon source was 3 mg-C/L, the initial TCE removal rates initiated by methane, toluene, and phenol utilizers were 1.5, 30, and 100 μg/L-hr, respectively. During the incubation period of 80 hours, TCE removal efficiencies were 26% and 96% with the presence of methane and toluene, respectively. However, it was 100% within 20 hours with the presence of phenol. For phenol utilizers, the initial TCE removal rates were about the same, when the phenol concentrations were 1.35, 2.7, and 4.5 mg/L. However, TCE removal was not proportional to the concentrations of phenol. TCE removal was hindered when the phenol concentration was higher than 4.5 mg/L because of the rapid depletion of dissolved oxygen. The presence of toluene also initiated cometabolic removal of TCE. The presence of toluene at 3 and 5 mg/L resulted in similar TCE removal. The initial TCE removal rate was about 95 μg/L-hr at toluene concentrations of 3 and 5 mg/L compared to 20 μg/L-hr at toluene concentration of 1 mg/L.

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