The impact of sediment characteristics on polychlorinated biphenyl-dechlorinating cultures: Implications for bioaugmentation

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Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB)-dechlorinating cultures with complimentary activities, previously derived from estuarine Baltimore Harbor (B), marine Palos Verdes (P), and riverine Hudson River (H) sediments, were mixed and then inoculated into sterile sediments from the same sources. In the treatments containing sterile B sediment, the different inocula had limited impact on the bacterial community development and on dechlorination patterns, all of which were similar. In treatments containing sterile P orHsediment, however, different inocula resulted in significantly different PCB dechlorination patterns and bacterial communities. The B sediment appeared to support not only the most extensive and rapid dechlorination of the three sediments, but also supported a more diverse bacterial community. This was thought to be a result of nutritional richness, as it was high in organic carbon and micronutrients such as zinc and cobalt. Although mixing three PCB-dechlorinating cultures was able to produce a culture capable of enhanced PCB-dechlorinating activity as compared to single cultures, some activities were lost upon culture transfer. This indicates that care must be taken to establish robust PCB-dechlorinating cultures capable of extensive dechlorination prior to pursuing bioaugmentation. In addition, our results indicate that the concentration and availability of macro- and micronutrients could have a significant impact on the microbial community structure, and thus a thorough characterization of the sediment at contaminated sites is essential for implementing bioaugmentation for PCB bioremediation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-151
Number of pages9
JournalBioremediation Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for this work was provided by the Office of Naval Research (grant N00014-99-1-0923), the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (grant ES12810-01), and the Hudson River Foundation (Graduate Fellowship). T.Y. was financially supported by a Sommerfeld fellowship from the University of Minnesota and by a Hudson River Foundation Graduate Fellowship (grant GF/03/02).


  • Anaerobic
  • Bioaugmentation
  • Dechlorination
  • Microbial community
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls


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