Dechlorination of PCE by mixed methanogenic cultures using hollow-fiber membranes

H. D. Muenzner, L. W. Clapp, R. M. Hozalski, M. J. Semmens, P. J. Novak

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4 Scopus citations


This study investigated the use of hollow-fiber membranes for hydrogen (H 2) delivery to support the biological reductive dechlorination of tetrachloroethene (PCE). Two experiments were performed in which H 2 was supplied through membranes placed in stirred batch reactors containing a mixed methanogenic/dechlorinating culture and PCE (≤10 μM). Reductive dechlorination of PCE to cis-dichloroethene was sustained in the reactors receiving H 2 (1% H 2 and 50% H 2), while negligible dechlorination was observed in control reactors (100% N 2). The 1%-H 2-fed reactor outperformed the 50%-H 2-fed reactor in the first experiment. However, the dechlorinating performance in the two reactors was similar in the second experiment. Despite relatively high H 2 concentrations (4.6 to 178 μM) that led to H 2 consumption (and CH 4 production) by methanogens, dechlorination was effectively maintained for the duration of the experiments (35 to 62 days). The results of this study are significant in that dechlorination was sustained in a minimal medium by membrane-delivered H 2. Dechlorination was also maintained at aqueous H 2 concentrations that exceeded the thermodynamic thresholds for not only dechlorination (<0.1 to 2 nM), but also methanogenesis (∼10 nM) and homoacetogenesis (94 to 400 nM). The results of these experiments suggest that membranes are a promising H 2 delivery technology for stimulating the bioremediation of chlorinated ethene-contaminated aquifers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-350
Number of pages14
JournalBioremediation Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was principally funded by the United States Department of Defense’s Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program, with additional support provided by the University of Minnesota.


  • Electron donor
  • Groundwater
  • Hydrogen
  • In situ
  • Membranes
  • PCE
  • Reductive dechlorination
  • Tetrachloroethene


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