Modeling of the Aerobic Cometabolic Transformation of Chlorinated Ethenes By the Mycobacterium Elw-1 | AIChE

Modeling of the Aerobic Cometabolic Transformation of Chlorinated Ethenes By the Mycobacterium Elw-1


Rich, S. - Presenter, Oregon State University

ELW1 is a recently isolated aerobic bacterium, in the mycobacterium family, that uses isobutene as a growth substrate. ELW1 was also discovered to have the ability to cometabolically transform substances with chemical structures similar to isobutene, such as chlorinated ethenes, into chloride ion and water. Chlorinated ethenes are notorious carcinogens, and groundwater pollutants, whose remediation has been a worldwide problem for over 40 years. Bioremediation of chlorinated ethenes by the augmentation of contaminated soils with microorganisms such as ELW1 is a proposed method of reducing contaminant concentrations in groundwater. To determine the viability of using ELW1 for groundwater remediation, an initial kinetic analysis of transformation rates must be performed. The focus of this research was to determine the rates of contaminant transformation when this organism was exposed to high concentrations of chlorinated ethenes such as trichloroethylene (TCE), cis-dichloroethene (c-DCE), and vinyl chloride (VC).

The ELW1 culture was grown and sustained in both batch culture and steady-state chemostat environments with isobutene as a growth substrate on a minimal growth media. Cells that were used for experiments were concentrated by centrifugation, washed with excess media and placed in a new media solution containing high concentrations of the compound to be tested. Initial rates of transformation were determined using gas chromatography to analyze 100µL samples of headspace gas over a period of one to three days to determine the rate of compound loss. The rates at which ELW1 can utilize isobutene were compared with rates of chlorinated ethene transformation, which overall quantifies the practicality of using this organism bioremediation purposes in the field.

            Kinetic parameters of these cometabolic processes were determined using an analytical equation based on a modified Monod equation in order to account for decrease in cell activity over time. Results of this investigation indicate that the ELW-1 culture would be effective for the bioremediation of c-DCE and VC,  but would be less effective for treated TCE.