Degradation of the lower chlorinated ethenes is crucial to the application of natural attenuation or in situ bioremediation on chlorinated ethene contaminated sites. Recently, within mixtures of several chloroethenes as they can occur in contaminated groundwater inhibiting effects on aerobic chloroethene degradation have been shown. The current study demonstrated that metabolic vinyl chloride (VC) degradation by an enrichment culture originating from groundwater was not affected by an equimolar concentration (50 μM) of cis-1,2-dichloroethene (cDCE). Only cDCE concentrations at a ratio of 2.4:1 (initial cDCE to VC concentration) caused minor inhibition of VC degradation. Furthermore, the degradation of VC was not affected by the presence of trans-1,2-dichloroethene (tDCE), 1,1-dichloroethene (1,1-DCE), trichloroethene (TCE), and tetrachloroethene (PCE) in equimolar concentrations (50 μM). Only cDCE and tDCE were cometabolically degraded in small amounts. The VC-degrading culture demonstrated a broad pH tolerance from 5 to 9 with an optimum between 6 and 7. Results also showed that the culture could degrade VC concentrations up to 1,800 μM (110 mg/L).
Keywords: aerobic biodegradation, cis-1,2-dichloroethene, cometabolic, metabolic, pH, vinyl chloride