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Acetylene-fueled trichloroethene reductive dechlorination in a groundwater enrichment culture

February 2, 2021

In aquifers, acetylene (C2H2) is a product of abiotic degradation of trichloroethene (TCE) catalyzed by in situ minerals. C2H2 can, in turn, inhibit multiple microbial processes including TCE dechlorination and metabolisms that commonly support dechlorination, in addition to supporting the growth of acetylenotrophic microorganisms. Previously, C2H2 was shown to support TCE reductive dechlorination in synthetic, laboratory-constructed cocultures containing the acetylenotroph Pelobacter sp. strain SFB93 and Dehalococcoides mccartyi strain 195 or strain BAV1. In this study, we demonstrate TCE and perchloroethene (PCE) reductive dechlorination by a microbial community enriched from contaminated groundwater and amended with C2H2 as the sole electron donor and organic carbon source. The metagenome of the stable, enriched community was analyzed to elucidate putative community functions. A novel anaerobic acetylenotroph in the phylum Actinobacteria was identified using metagenomic analysis. These results demonstrate that the coupling of acetylenotrophy and reductive dechlorination can occur in the environment with native bacteria and broaden our understanding of biotransformation at contaminated sites containing both TCE and C2H2.