Desulfitobacterium are Gram positive, spore-forming, strictly anaerobic bacteria, that belong to the Firmicutes, Clostridia, Clostridiales, and Peptococcaceae. Most known members of the genus Desulfitobacterium have the ability to dechlorinate several halogenated compounds by a mechanism of reductive dehalogenation and use them as electron acceptors to generate energy (halorespiration). Desulfitobacteria are therefore perfect candidates to be used in bioremediation treatments of environment polluted with halogenated compounds. Understanding the physiology and the molecular mechanisms of these bacteria will help to develop better bioremediation systems. This report summarizes works that have been done in our laboratories with D. frappieri PCP-1 on reductive dehalogenases, genes encoding these dehalogenases and their expression, and the development of lab-scale PCP-degrading reactors using this bacterium.

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