Novel Firmicutes group implicated in the dechlorination of two chlorinated xanthones, analogues of natural organochlorines

Mark J. Krzmarzick, Hanna R. Miller, Tao Yan, Paige J. Novak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Although the abundance and diversity of natural organochlorines are well established, much is still unknown about the degradation of these compounds. Triplicate microcosms were used to determine whether, and which, bacterial communities could dechlorinate two chlorinated xanthones (2,7-dichloroxanthone and 5,7-dichloro-1,3-dihydroxylxanthone), analogues of a diverse class of natural organochlorines. According to quantitative-PCR (qPCR) results, several known dechlorinating genera were either not present or not enriched during dechlorination of the xanthones. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, however, indicated that several Firmicutes were enriched in the dechlorinating cultures compared to triplicate controls amended with nonchlorinated xanthones. One such group, herein referred to as the Gopher group, was further studied with a novel qPCR method that confirmed enrichment of Gopher group 16S rRNA genes in the dechlorinating cultures. The enrichment of the Gopher group was again tested with two new sets of triplicate microcosms. Enrichment was observed during chlorinated xanthone dechlorination in one set of these triplicate microcosms. In the other set, two microcosms showed clear enrichment while a third did not. The Gopher group is a previously unidentified group of Firmicutes, distinct from but related to the Dehalobacter and Desulfitobacterium genera; this group also contains clones from at least four unique cultures capable of dechlorinating anthropogenic organochlorines that have been previously described in the literature. This study suggests that natural chlorinated xanthones may be effective biostimulants to enhance the remediation of pollutants and highlights the idea that novel genera of dechlorinators likely exist and may be active in bioremediation and the natural cycling of chlorine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1210-1218
Number of pages9
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2014


Dive into the research topics of 'Novel Firmicutes group implicated in the dechlorination of two chlorinated xanthones, analogues of natural organochlorines'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this